Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Bungle piled upon bungle in S. Australia

POLICE have admitted to returning a stolen car to the wrong person following a serious crime. Adelaide man Tyson Coates has demanded answers after police also allowed a person to drive away with his car on Friday, despite he and a friend insisting he owned it.

Mr Coates' Nissan Skyline was finally recovered in Port Pirie on Saturday, but only after several other investigative errors which included police failing to respond to two 000 calls as he watched his car being stolen in the city two months earlier.

Mr Coates said police had also failed to act on another reported sighting of his car at Yatala prison because an official report had not been made.

Police yesterday confirmed the car had been returned to the wrong person after a serious crime in April which resulted in the arrest of two people. A spokesman said the car had different number plates and had been altered in other ways, leading police to return the car to the wrong person.

Police further confirmed the vehicle was pulled over on Friday after a sighting by one of Mr Coates' friends. Because of its altered appearance, it was released to the "apparent owner".

"As a result of further enquiries the vehicle was located and seized by police in Port Pirie and after confirmation of its identity was returned to the rightful owner," the police spokesman said.

Mr Coates said he was happy to have his car back but was disappointed by the police investigation. "I'm happy I got my car back, but not that it took so much stuffing around," he said. "I don't want anything personally, I've got my car back, but definitely something needs to be done about what is going on. "They had it impounded and gave it back to the wrong people, that is terrible."

Police had previously admitted a patrol failed to attend the scene of the initial robbery despite operator advice to the contrary. That resulted in police having no record of the theft when Mr Coates went to Sturt Police Station the following day to check on the investigation's progress.

That incident is being investigated by the Police Complaints Authority.


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