Tradie tracks down and grabs man who stole his wallet to buy Lotto tickets

The Queensland tradie was able to locate his wallet and the alleged thief with the help of a digital tracking device.

A Queensland tradie has chased down a thief and wrestled him to the ground to retrieve his stolen wallet – thanks to some smart forward thinking.

Sam Fraser was working on a building site last Tuesday when his wallet was snatched from under his nose. He began to receive purchase notifications on his phone, and it appeared the thief was trying his luck and bought $30 worth of lottery tickets using the tradie's card, 9News reported.

The 33-year-old was able to trace the suspect's movements with the help of a small, digital tracking device he had previously attached to his wallet, and soon found himself at his local shopping centre in hunt for the man.

Sam Fraser on the left speaking to 9 News, and on the right, CCTV footage on the suspect buying the lotto tickets.
Sam Fraser began to receive purchase notifications from his phone after his wallet was stolen. Source: 9News

CCTV footage from a news agency shows the suspect buying the lottery tickets not long before Mr Fraser entered the store with his phone in hand, following directions from the tracker.

"I ran over and grabbed him. I ended up bear-hugging him from the back," Mr Fraser told 9News. "Then after about 5-10 minutes I got him to sit down on the floor".

Police arrived and Mr Fraser was able to recover his wallet, obtaining his medicare card and licence, which had been dumped in a "disabled bathroom in one of the bins".

Queensland grappling with young crime

The state has experienced a surge in youth crime over the last few years, with the number of youths offending in Cairns and Townsville reportedly starting to trend upwards in late 2020.

These figures have started to taper off, with children responsible for roughly 20 per cent of the state's total charges in December and January, which is on par with the last three consecutive years, the Brisbane Times reported. However, the Palaszczuk government has recently passed controversial laws to keep youth crime at bay.

The changes make it a crime for a child to breach their bail conditions, fit GPS trackers on children as young as 15 and allow courts to declare certain youths serious repeat offenders.

There are also harsher prison terms for car thieves, new penalties for people who boast about crime on social media and judges will have to take the histories of child offenders into account when deciding bail applications.

Opposition Leader David Crisafulli said it was time for child offenders to understand there would be consequences for their actions.

"The opposition is going to continue to fight for a balance when it comes to fixing the youth crime epidemic gripping this state," he told parliament.

"It looks like this: consequences for action, unshackling the judiciary and removing detention as a last resort."

with AAP

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