Craig?s car chase leads to Beaudesert
By JADE BILOWOL
CRAIG Milburn wishes he had a crystal ball.
The owner of Burleigh Gardens-based Allhours Mechanical Repairs would never have accepted a job that has left him $7500 out of pocket, facing a criminal charge for vehicle theft and forking out legal fees.
Mr Milburn said the ordeal began when his business spent almost a month fitting a 4WD with new parts and reconditioning the motor before Christmas last year.
"I've done work for the couple before and when the woman came to pick the car up she received a phone call to say her kid has a broken arm," Mr Milburn alleged.
"She said she would come in the next day and, because I've got a kid and I had never had any dramas with this couple before, I trusted her when she said she would come back and pay."
However, Mr Milburn said no payment was received and following a series of phone calls and promises, he alleged that they "disconnected their phone, deregistered their business and they did the bolt".
With the help of a private investigator and flyers offering a reward, Mr Milburn said he tracked down the couple in Beaudesert last week but rather than settling the dispute, things spiralled out of control.
"I went there with some friends and we saw him and his children in the car outside of a primary school," he said.
"I said to him 'you owe us $7500 or we take the vehicle back' because we have signs at our premises saying the vehicle is not to be taken until payment is received."
Mr Milburn alleged the man handed him the keys before he took the vehicle back to Burleigh Gardens.
"Not long after I received a call from the Beaudesert Police saying to return the vehicle or else I would be charged because the wife told them I stole the vehicle," he alleged.
"I contacted them prior to retrieving the vehicle and they said they couldn't get involved because it was a civil matter."
Mr Milburn said despite an alleged police request for Mr Milburn to return the car the following day and take $4000 from the couple, Mr Milburn's lawyer advised him not to do so.
"That was last week and I haven't heard anything," he said.
"The car is here, it's locked up in the building, it's safe and secure."
Mr Milburn said if the matter was not resolved by the end of this week, he would pursue civil action.
A Beaudesert Police spokesman said the case was still being investigated.
Mr Milburn said the situation had ruined his Christmas.
"It was very stressful and the family Christmas wasn't good," he said.