Facebook detective gets her stolen goods back
BROOLOO mum Anne Veivers is stylish, well groomed and well spoken.
She doesn't look or sound like a detective and she has never attended the police academy.
But within 24 hours of thieves making off with $30,000 worth of farm equipment from her 80ha grazing property near Imbil in April, she had cracked the case wide open, leaving one of the thieves with no option but to turn himself into police.
Anne harnessed the formidable power of Facebook to back the thieves into a corner and make it almost impossible for them to "move" the tractor, ute and other farm machinery and tools they stripped from the shed on Anne, and her husband Brad's, farm.
"We had nothing left. They took everything," said Anne. "They took their time and picked over everything."
Outraged at being targeted by crooks - but refusing to think or feel like a "victim" - Anne sat down and thought hard about what the thieves' next move might be. She knew they would try to sell her belongings.
She got straight on Facebook, posting photos and details about what had been taken and asking everyone who saw her post to share it.
It went viral, clocking up 6000 organic (direct) shares and untold shares beyond that.
"I even got responses from the United States," says Anne. "One redneck guy asked me if I wanted anybody shot."
From the Facebook activity, the mainstream media picked the story up - newspapers, radio and television.
"The feedback was that they (the thieves) had gone to ground and could not shift the stuff and they panicked."
Imbil police then received a tip-off from the public that somebody had seen the Veivers' missing ute hidden on a property at Tuchekoi.
They went to the property and made an arrest, but recovered nothing but the ute.
This wasn't good enough for Anne. She wanted her tractor back.
"I was pretty motivated (and by that I mean crazy) at this stage," she said.
Through more investigative work on Facebook, which Anne doesn't want to reveal in detail for fear of upsetting those who helped her, one of the perpetrators turned himself into police and showed them where most of the stolen gear was. His co-accused has also since been arrested and charged.
"The Imbil police were just brilliant," says Anne. "Bill Greer in particular. He just worked 24/7 until it was all back."
Over the next few months Anne will be working with Kenilworth and Imbil police and the Kandanga Rural Watch to talk with rural property owners on how to best secure their property from would-be thieves.