Acting Inspector Donna Stewart at Yamanto Police Station. Picture: Cordell Richardson
Acting Inspector Donna Stewart at Yamanto Police Station. Picture: Cordell Richardson

Police boost numbers, but shoot down scammer reports

MAYOR Teresa Harding says she is concerned her city is getting a bad rap following reports of scammers targeting hailstorm victims this week.

The Queensland Times was told two stories of possible scammers targeting Springfield Lakes residents in the aftermath of Saturday afternoon’s storms, which damaged thousands of homes from Springfield to Rosewood.

Cr Harding said she had checked with police, who were unable to confirm any reports of scammers targeting residents.

QFES assistant commissioner Kevin Walsh and Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding.
QFES assistant commissioner Kevin Walsh and Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding.

“The police are doing a great job,” Ms Harding said of the situation.

“I spoke to the Superintendent (Dave Cuskelly) and he has told me the police have received no reports.

“I was also asked in an interview whether there had been looting, which there has not been.

“We are simply asking for people to be vigilant, but you know what happens in these situations, where you get people starting to bag Ipswich, and I don’t want that happening.”

Police have increased numbers on the ground in hail affected areas in a proactive approach to protecting vulnerable residents, with members of the mounted police, tactical crime squad and road policing units boosting patrols.

Acting Inspector Donna Stewart said police were aware of stories being posted on Facebook, however there had been no actual increase in property crime since the storm.

Insp Stewart encouraged anyone with information on suspicious activity to report it immediately.

“We have a very large police presence in Springfield Lakes at the moment,” she said.

“We are aware of the social media posts about scammers, but they do not reflect our actual crime reports.

Storm damage in Lakeside Avenue, Springfield Lakes, Sunday, November 1, 2020 - Picture: Richard Walker
Storm damage in Lakeside Avenue, Springfield Lakes, Sunday, November 1, 2020 - Picture: Richard Walker

“Police are in the area and understand there is an increased risk of property crime happening in this situation. People are displaced, which increased their vulnerability.”

Insp Stewart said police had received one report of items missing from a house which was yet to be confirmed as a possible stealing offence, while another report of suspicious activity at a house, which police attended with lights and sirens, turned out to be legitimate builders carrying out repairs into the night.

“We ask people to be hyper vigilant, so we don’t mind if we get a report and all turns out to be fine,” she said.

The ceiling completely collapsed in the Springfield Lakes home of Peter and Kathy Morcus.
The ceiling completely collapsed in the Springfield Lakes home of Peter and Kathy Morcus.

Cr Harding said she was harnessing community spirit to help storm-affected residents by announcing a Hail Relief campaign to raise funds and accept donated goods to assist families in need.

Mayor Harding praised communities as they rallied behind their neighbours in Springfield, Springfield Lakes, Rosewood, Willowbank and Thagoona as the post-Halloween hailstorm clean-up continues.

“What has been a horror story for many residents is becoming a tale of courage, resilience and importantly, community spirit,” she said.