Getaway car catches fire after thieves smash into shop

ON DUTY: The owner of NewsExtra at Yamanto Bruce Nowland interrupted a gang of thieves attempting to break into his newsagency.
ON DUTY: The owner of NewsExtra at Yamanto Bruce Nowland interrupted a gang of thieves attempting to break into his newsagency. Sarah Harvey

AN EARLY morning crime spree across Ipswich ended when the car the gang, allegedly responsible for the crimes, was driving became engulfed in flames.

Police closed in on the group of four after a 45-minute police chase.

Two store break-ins left a trail of destruction worth thousands of dollars.

A police car windscreen was also smashed during a low-speed pursuit when one of the suspects threw an object from the four-wheel drive police were following.

Police charged Levi Jacob Bell, 20, Courtney Jade Mueller, 17, and two male juveniles with a number of offences on Tuesday.

Bell and Mueller were bailed after they appeared in Ipswich Magistrates Court.

They were charged with unlawful use of a motor vehicle, evading police, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, wilful damage, attempted enter premises and enter premises and commit.

Mueller was also charged with possession of a drug utensil.

Police allege the crime spree began after 2am when thieves smashed their way into a supermarket on Jacaranda St, East Ipswich, stealing cigarettes and causing extensive damage to the shop.

They then allegedly moved to Yamanto News Extra, and attempted to break through glass doors at the front of the business with sledge hammers.

Owner Bruce Nowland was preparing newspapers for the morning when he heard the thieves at 2.40am.

"I was out the back wrapping up some papers and they smashed in the front window. I yelled out to them and they took off," he said.

"I gave the police a description of the car then they spotted them on the Safe City cameras."

Soon after, the car, which was allegedly stolen, was spotted running two red lights at high speed heading east bound on Brisbane Rd.

A police crew set up stingers at Ebbw Vale, while a dog squad unit travelled behind.

The stingers blew out the front tyres, but the suspects continued to drive on the rims.

At one stage, police had the car cornered in a dead end road, but the suspects reversed in the direction of a police vehicle.

They led police on a 10-minute low speed pursuit from Ebbw Vale to the Ipswich Mwy service road at Wacol.

The sparks from the deflated tyres caused the car to ignite and it became engulfed in flames at 3.30am.

The four suspects ran from the vehicle but were caught by the dog squad a short time later.

One of the suspects was taken to Royal Brisbane Hospital under police guard.