THE Daily Mercury helped police catch three young men who sparked a 6.5-hour search after allegedly running away from a stolen car near Alligator Creek on Tuesday.
A dozen police officers, the dog squad and a State Emergency Service boat crew were called in to search for four men, who avoided police road spikes before driving the vehicle down a steep embankment and along a roadworks site, allegedly injuring a worker. Allegedly, they then ran into nearby bushland and mangroves.
Police lined the Bruce Hwy, keeping watch as dogs and other police officers searched the scrub.
A police dog quickly caught one man, however, the other three remained on the run until about 1.15pm.
A Daily Mercury photographer and a journalist spotted the men crossing the highway shortly after 1pm and called triple zero. They showed officers where the men went and the dog squad located them within minutes.
Senior Sergeant Dave Parnell said one of the men was caught by a police dog before the other two surrendered. The car the men were travelling in was allegedly stolen from Brisbane on Monday night, he said.
"Just after 7am we received information about a stolen vehicle proceeding north along the Bruce Hwy," he said. "There were several petrol drive-offs on the way.
"There was a (road spike) deployment but they drove around it. Obviously they were set on not being captured by police... As a result of one sighting we redeployed (to another area), and at that time the offenders have actually come out of hiding and were spotted by one of the reporters (and photographers) from the Daily Mercury. With that fresh information we were able to redeploy and actually apprehend the offenders."
It is believed ambulance officers treated the men before they were taken to the Mackay watch-house, where they remained last night.