A Latrobe Valley father has been overwhelmed by community support that has rallied around him since his car was stolen about two weeks ago.
Peter Saunders of Moe awoke to the sound of his driveway gate banging about 4am on Tuesday, 21 June. He soon realised his modified 2002 VY Holden Commodore was gone.
Inside his family car was a specialised car seat Peter needed to safely transport daughter Chloe, who is living with Angelman Syndrome.
Local businesses, friends and strangers have come to Peter’s aid since hearing of his plight – a response he describes as incredible.
“It’s just overwhelming,” Peter said.
“It shows you there are some decent people out there.
“I don’t know how to say thanks, really… Thank you to everyone for their support.”
Peter is borrowing a friend’s car until his insurance claim is processed and he can get his hands on a replacement vehicle, if his original car doesn’t turn up.
And last week, a new car harness was delivered to Peter’s home, thanks to two Moe businesses who have also stepped in to help.
“I’ve known Peter for… I’d say a good 20-plus years. He’s a good lad, he’s always been a fair dinkum chap,” business owner Ernie Corry said.
“I read it (of the car theft) in the paper and thought there were some jerks in the world.
“I happened to be in at Repco and they had a tin at the front door trying to get a few dollars together to help him out to get a new car seat.”
After a bit of research, Peter found a suitable harness for Chloe at the fraction of her original seat’s price.
He is again driving Chloe around with the peace of mind she’s safely restrained.
Peter admits there’ll be a bit of trial and error over the school holidays to see how the harness goes, but in the meantime he’s grateful for all the messages and support.
“The car seat’s covered basically; the next big step’s replacing the car, but that’s just going to take time,” Peter said.
“The seat was the most important thing to be able to get her around.
“I was going to have to cope or manage somehow anyway; borrow money or whatever, except thanks to the community, or really the boys from Repco, and Ernie and Mel, it’s worked out really well.”
On Friday Moe police Acting Sergeant Chris Skurrie said “somebody out there knows something” about Peter’s car.
He urged anyone who has information to contact Moe Police on 5128 1100 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 and remain anonymous.
Moe police Acting Sergeant Chris Skurrie said police had been responding to a series of thefts from motor vehicles and reminded the community to be vigilant.
“They can take a few simple measures to help us help them,” Act Sgt Skurrie said.
“Lock cars, park in well-lit areas, also don’t leave valuables in your cars and be vigilant as well.”
He reminded residents to keep an eye out for people in the community, such as their neighbours, and to contact police if they noticed anyone acting suspiciously.