Australian Lifeguard Service lifeguard Allan Wood had his sunglasses stolen while he was rescuing someone in distress at Kelly’s Beach, Bargara.
Australian Lifeguard Service lifeguard Allan Wood had his sunglasses stolen while he was rescuing someone in distress at Kelly’s Beach, Bargara. Max Fleet

Thieves target charities

THIEVES have targeted two life-saving charity organisations, stealing thousands of dollars worth of goods.

Lifeguard Allan Wood was putting his life on the line to rescue two people when he became the victim of a thief on Saturday.

And on the same day, Wartburg Rural Fire Brigade volunteers were out fundraising for the flood appeal when thieves broke into and raided their headquarters.

More than $2500 worth of meat, prepared meals, eskies and slabs of soft drink were stolen from the station in an act fire brigade member Judy Ferrari described as being “not very Australian”.

Mr Wood was on duty at Kelly's Beach on Saturday when he spotted two people struggling in the surf.

“It was an older fellow with what looked like his grandson,” Mr Wood said.

“They had chosen to swim in the creek, outside the flags, after a king tide.”

Mr Wood said the receding king tide was sweeping the two swimmers out to sea before he had reached them.

He dropped his gear, including his sunglasses, on the beach and then went in for the rescue.

“I took off my hat, sunglasses and shirt and went to get them,” he said.

But Mr Wood said when he went back to pick up his gear, he found his sunglasses had been stolen.

“I wasn't happy,” he said.

Mr Wood said he accepted there was not much he could do about the theft.

“It's a fact they're gone,” he said.

But Mr Wood said the theft would not put him off lifeguarding.

“I'm not going to give up all this,” he said.

Although a paid lifeguard, Mr Wood is employed by charity Surf Life Saving Queensland, which relies on public donations.

At Wartburg, Mrs Ferrari said Australia Day for the firies was being spent down at the station cleaning up after the thieves.

She said the social club had been fundraising for a year to stock the station with food, which was given to residents who did it tough during the floods.

“It's very depressing.

“All the time and effort we have spent getting these fridges stocked, some lowlife comes in and robs us.”

She said the burglary was “disheartening”, especially after all the hard work the rural fire brigade had been doing to get the small town back on its feet.

“We work for the community, and here they are just stripping us,” she said.

Police are investigating the incident.

A police spokesman said because the fire station was still classed as a disaster zone after the flooding, any offender caught would be charged with looting, which carries a heftier maximum sentence of 10 years, compared to five years for stealing.



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