Weary wanderer steals tow truck to get home

WALKING from one side of Toowoomba to the other proved too much for a weary William Richard Brown who stole a tow truck and drove the rest of the journey home.

A 1300Towing truck driver had parked his tow truck outside the business's headquarters in Inter St near Willowburn Oval on Gowrie Crk just before 1pm, September 25, last year, Toowoomba Magistrates Court heard.

He placed the truck's keys into the overhead tray while he stepped inside the office to complete some paperwork.

However, while he was in the office, Brown, 36, had jumped into the tow truck and driven off.


When the driver returned to find the truck gone, he and the business owner tracked it by the truck's GPS tracker system and followed the vehicle's movements as they called police.

Unbeknown to Brown, he had driven past a number of street cameras including one on a Wilsonton street where he stopped.

CCTV footage from that camera clearly showed him driving the stolen vehicle before getting out and leaving the truck near the Wilsonton Hotel.

Police soon found Brown and checks of his driving record showed he was subject to a three-year driving disqualification imposed by the court in January 2012, the court heard.

Brown pleaded guilty to unlawfully using a motor vehicle and to disqualified driving.


His solicitor Phil Stainton told the court the incident came soon after his client had gone through a stressful relationship breakdown.

His client had been walking from one side of Toowoomba to the other when he came upon the tow truck which he found was unlocked and got inside.

Describing his client's offending as "opportunistic", Mr Stainton submitted Brown had only driven the vehicle a short time and had left it with no damage.

His client was just three months shy of completing the three-year driving disqualification period when he committed the offence, he said.

Mr Stainton conceded his client had served six months in jail in 2013 for previous offending.

Magistrate Damian Carroll sentenced Brown to five months in jail, but ordered he be released on parole immediately.

Brown was disqualified from holding or obtaining a driver's licence for another two years.

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