'We just wanted it done'
A MUNGINDI pilot has described the moment he assisted with the arrest of a fugitive on a Dirranbandi property last week.
Precision Aerial owner and helicopter pilot Charlie Tootell said he knew the situation was serious when he received the call for help on Tuesday.
"We got a call from a farmer around lunchtime saying he had seen some movement down the bottom of his property,” Mr Tootell said.
"The town had been warned about the persons of interest for two weeks, so I knew what I was coming to.
"While we were out at the property we received information from the police about a car travelling from the property, with one police car in pursuit as he drove from the paddocks.
"These guys know their way around so well, and with the dust and all it was hard for the police to keep up.
"This guy wouldn't stop for fences or gates, he just kept on through. He wrecked the automobile he was in.”
Mr Tootell then assisted police from the air, tracking the car for five hours as the fugitive raced from south of Mungindi to Hebel, through Cubbie station and into Dirranbandi.
The suspect abandoned his car east of Dirranbandi at dusk, evading police by running into heavy scrubland.
However, Mr Tootell was called back the following morning after the fugitive was spotted trying to hitchhike away from the town.
"A Dirranbandi farmer saw him on the side of the road and recognised him, and he called the police and the locals and then we were all back out there,” MrTootell said.
"Another property owner alerted me to his whereabouts and we found him almost straight away.
"After I spotted him I was able to guide the police in, and with help from the locals they were able to apprehend the man.
"We just wanted the job done. The locals had had enough. Every night there seemed to be something going on, so we just wanted to do our bit to help out.
"It's good to know he's now been caught because there were a lot of people who weren't staying on their properties while these guys were around.”
The suspect was apprehended at noon Wednesday and charged with weapon, property and serious traffic offences.
Officers, with help from the dog unit, arrested another man linked to the incident at a property in Bucknell St in Mungindi on Thursday.