HEADACHES rippled across the Yeppoon Surf Life Saving Club on Monday when a brazen thief stole a new buggy lifeguards use in their day-to-day operations.
The $20,000 all-terrain vehicle, the club had recently purchased, was parked at Yeppoon's Main Beach (near the club) when a man described as Caucasian, aged between 18 and 25, jumped into the vehicle and drove off.
About 2.30pm, the man drove the vehicle south on the beach.
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He exited the beach through the boat ramp near Keppel Bay Sailing Club.
The on-duty lifeguard notified Queensland Police Service immediately.
Yeppoon acting Senior Sergeant Jamie Goodwin said the suspect then drove more than 6km to Barmaryee, where he dumped the buggy on a roadside and took off into bushland on foot.
Police arrived at the Barmaryee property quickly but the suspect had already gone. The police are still looking for the offender.
Officers have conducted forensic examinations, including lifting fingerprints off the buggy.
Club president Andrew Davis said the club was retrieving the vehicle today. It's believed the vehicle was parked at a Barmaryee resident's home until club representatives could retrieve it.
The buggy was not significantly damaged.
What also adds salt to the club's wounds though is the fact the thief stole a rescue board worth between $1200 and $1400.
Mr Davis said that board was critical to their operations.
"We're thankful no serious damage was done to the vehicle... we use it (the vehicle) to patrol great stretches of the beach and to carry our rescue equipment about," he said.
"We thank the Queensland Police Service and the public for their assistance in retrieving this vital piece of equipment, which will return to the beach as soon as practicable.
"The Yeppoon Surf Life Saving Club beach patrols are a combination of volunteer life savers and paid lifeguards... no emergency service or community group should need to deal with these types of issues."
Life saving services on Yeppoon's Main Beach have not been greatly affected. Patrols will continue each day of the school holidays.