A BRAZEN carjacker is still on the loose following an illegal joyride across the Western District that included petrol theft and speeding offences.
An unidentified man stole a vehicle from a west Warrnambool service station on Saturday afternoon while the owner of the 1999 silver Mitsubishi sedan was paying for petrol.
The carjacker walked across to the vehicle, parked at the Shell service station in Raglan Parade at 1.20pm, opened the unlocked passenger door and sat in the front seat until the car’s owner returned.
He then threatened the owner to hand over his car keys before driving the car towards Terang.
The carjacker allegedly filled up with petrol at the Terang Caltex service station without paying, driving further east on the Princes Highway.
Sergeant Cameron Ross, of Warrnambool police, said it was uncertain whether the carjacker was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the alleged incident.
He said the carjacking reinforced the need for motorists to lock their cars when leaving a vehicle unoccupied.
“It’s the first carjacking case I’ve come across in Warrnambool and I’ve been here eight years,” Sergeant Ross said.
“The driver obviously didn’t expect someone to be in the vehicle after leaving it for such a short period of time to pay for petrol. Carjackings rarely occur but it highlights the need to remain vigilant.”
The carjacker headed towards the Cobden-Camperdown region following the Terang petrol theft about 2.20pm.
Sergeant Wayne Dennehy, of Colac police, said dozens of officers patrolled the region’s roads in order to intercept the carjacker but only one sighting was made from a distance.
He said it was believed the offender detoured from the Princes Highway to the Colac-Cape Otway Road before returning to the highway near Winchelsea.
“All main roads were blocked off around the Colac area to provide a safe intercept,” Sergeant Dennehy said yesterday.
“We weren’t going to engage in a high-speed pursuit, given the nature of what had happened.
“He was sighted about a kilometre away (from where one of the officers were positioned) and it’s believed he headed towards Lavers Hill rather than driving through Colac.”
The carjacker was last sighted by police late Saturday afternoon after he sped past a booze bus located near the Winchelsea town centre.
The car and the carjacker are yet to be located.
“If anyone has any information or saw the incident, they can contact either Warrnambool police station or Crimestoppers,” Sergeant Ross said.