The bizarre emergence of tennis balls in the front yards of some Far North Queensland homes has sparked a wild theory they're being used by criminals to target some residents.
The theory emerged after a concerned Cairns resident took to a local Facebook community page revealing tennis balls had appeared near her car port the night her car was stolen.
"Could this be some sort of tag or am I just paranoid?" she asked fellow members.
She said none of her immediate neighbours had dogs or children playing on their properties while dogs passing the home were always on leads.
She said at least seven balls had appeared on her property at differing times.
And while Queensland Police told Yahoo News Australia they were unaware of such a tactic being deployed by criminals in the area, several residents voiced their concerns after similar experiences.
"Funny you should say that because I have been for walks around the Mt Sheridan area with my seven-year-old daughter and she pointed to a number of tennis balls out the front people's houses," one person wrote on Facebook.
"Weird thing I found a tennis ball in our driveway today. It was totally out of character. And I thought it was strange." another comment read.
Speculation rages about where tennis balls came from
Many expressed a level of concern over the theory, with one person saying it was "super suspicious".
Other users speculated the use of the balls in such a tactic. Some people said they would be used to see if the property had dogs, or if thrown at the vehicle, to see if it had an alarm.
Others suggested the fluorescent colour of the balls meant they were easy to spot at night and could be used as indicators for which homes to target.
However some on the page dismissed any threat, with one dog owner saying her pets often left tennis balls on other people's property while out on a walk.
Police 'have no information' to back up 'tactic' theory
A Queensland Police spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia they had no reason to believe this was a tagging tactic currently in use by criminals.
"We have no information or intelligence to suggest this is a tactic used by criminals to target addresses," they said.
The spokesperson encouraged residents to contact Crime Stoppers if they have any information relating to crime or criminal activity.
It's not the first time suspicious activity outside homes in Cairns has prompted concern of potential criminal activity. In 2019, a series of kerb markings outside homes left residents concerned.
Yahoo News Australia confirmed the markings were not from either the local energy supplier or the council, leading locals to believe their pets were at risk of being stolen.
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