Accused car thief arrested on Pacific Highway taking a nap after 2000km interstate journey

File shot.
File shot.

HE is alleged to have travelled more than 2000km in a stolen car before taking police on a 210kmh pursuit along the Pacific Highway with a startled hitchhiker sitting in the passenger seat.

But Simon Geoffrey Young’s cat and mouse game with the authorities, which is alleged to have included cunningly changing number plates and stealing fresh wheels to throw them off his scent, finished meekly on the side of the nation’s number one thoroughfare north of Raymond Terrace – and as the suspect was catching a nap.

Young, 41, had taken officers on a six-hour merry-go-round throughout the Manning and Port Stephens areas before he was taken into custody on Monday morning.

It had begun when a black Holden Cruze, which he had allegedly stolen from Townsville on January 19, was detected travelling about 160kmh on the highway at Coopernook, north of Taree.

A pursuit commenced, allegedly reaching 210kmh, before it was terminated by police and a hitchhiker was later found dropped off at Cundletown.

A search of the area came across a black Holden Cruze, but bearing different number plates to the chase car though still registered to a black Holden Cruze, and another chase started.

It was again terminated as speeds allegedly reached 200kmh before the Cruze exited the highway at Stewarts River and headed into Johns River where it was dumped.

Police spent seveal hours searching the area for the suspect before alarm bells rang when a gold Jeep Cherokee left a Karuah service station without paying for fuel.

The Cherokee was later found to have been stolen from Johns River, but the owner was not home to report it missing.

As highway patrol officers scrambled around Port Stephens, the four-wheel drive was found at a roadside toilet block just north of Twelve Mile Creek.

The car was still running, but Young was arrested as he slept in the driver’s seat.

A pocket knife, with the name of the woman whose car was stolen from Townsville and recovered at Johns River, was found in the driver’s side door ready to be used.

Also found were some items, including a laptop and “old currency”, which Young allegedly stole during a burglary at Coolongolook between the time he took off from Johns River in the Jeep Cherokee and his arrest.

Young was later charged with three outstanding warrants and 15 fresh charges, including car theft, pursuit offences and counts relating to unlicensed driving, burglary, custody of a knife and refusing a breath test.

He was refused bail when he appeared in Maitland Bail Court on Tuesday.


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