Wednesday, 12 September 2012


Missing my Smiddy mates/Massage time!
So with the Challenge event behind us we had a day to relax in Townsville. The Sunday morning was spent saying goodbye to all the Smiddy riders flying out to their respective homes. It is never a good time for me as I have formed great friendships and have such respect for the gang that I find it hard to be separated from them. If I could I would take them all on my next adventure across the Nullarbor I would. Throughout that morning my good friend Janet Curran, who lives in Townsville and has supported my efforts every year since 2006, had organized and paid for massages for not only myself and Kevvy but for John Leyshon as well. The massage therapist came to the Mercure where we were staying and spent an hour pummeling some of the residual stiffness of riding 1600km's over 8 days from Brisbane to Townsville out of us. Thank you Janet; your kindness and especially your friendship is always appreciated.

The sneaky thief enters our room
At around midday it was decided that a sleep was in order after a hectic and sleepless 8 nights on the road. Kevvy has been fighting a chest infection all week and I was emotionally and physically exhausted as always from this event. What happened while we slept will give me cold shivers for a long time to come. At some stage between midday and 3pm someone had entered our room via the front door, and while Kevvy and I slept the sleep of the dead, my iPad and wallet, containing $1500 cash for the trip across the Nullarbor, was stolen. The theft was not noticed until 5pm when it was suggested we join some Smiddy riders by the pool for a drink. Only then did I realise that not only was my iPad gone but my wallet as well.
Getting to Esperance
A sequence of events then happened that I can recall with the utmost clarity as I sit here and type this 2 days later. At this very moment I am in Esperance with the crew of the 7in7 ride across the Nullarbor from Esperance to Adelaide. Monday was spent in the air getting to Perth, while Tuesday saw a 9 hour road trip aboard a mini bus to get to our starting point in Esperance. This is the first chance I have had to do some blogging since finishing the Challenge last Saturday. Anyway that sequence was as follows:

How it all went down?
-Sit down before I fall down, realisation hits me that we had been robbed. I felt physically ill.
-Phoned reception to report incident
-Janet Curran turned up to collect her massage table and immediately took charge.
-Smiddy riders invited to participate in a search of the grounds for a hopefully discarded wallet.
-Realisation hits that iPad is fitted with a tracker
-Smiddy rider Brendan Lynch sets up tracker on my iPhone and turns it on and bingo!
-iPad located just 2 kilometers from Hotel. We have an exact address.
-Janet drives over to get description and informs us it is a block of 12 units.
-Police called and an incident report filed over the phone.
-I'm told something will happen within 24 hours!
-Turn to Maria Smiddy and she let's me vent my emotions with a good cry on her shoulder.
-David Smiddy suggests I call Brenton Cope.
-Police not moving quick enough so we phone Smiddy rider and detective Brenton Cope.
-Within 15 minutes of call Townsville detective turns up and takes charge.
-I am invited to attend crime scene where Ipad is.
-5 plain clothed detectives and two uniforms respond to unit address.
-Police placed strategically outside every second door of units.
-My iPhone is used to set off iPad alarm.
-Alarm loud enough to pinpoint which unit iPad is in.
-Suspect not home, out spending my money on drugs is what I think.
-Police drive me back to Mercure and tell me to wait for a call once they have a result.
-Maria and David and Kevvy waiting for my return. I am shivering.
-Maria suggests I have some mild shock and to get some warm clothes on.
-Clothes, beers and first food since lunchtime sorts me out, it is now 9pm.
-Smiddy rider Brett Goebel and his wife Jill joins us for a drink.
-Kevvy and I head back to apartment to pack bike and gear as leaving at 5am for Perth.
-Phone rings at 11:30pm, detective informs us suspect has been arrested.
-iPad found, wallet found, lady in mid 20's charged, spent $750 of my money.
-She admits to finding our door not closed properly, entering and stealing items.
-Kevvy and I finally off to sleep at 1am.

Stupid thief
What an unbelievable 12 hour period! I thank my lucky stars that the girl was so stupid that she did not think to turn the iPad off, meaning we could not have tracked it. The detective told me that an officer was placed outside her unit waiting for her return, but eventually her phone number was obtained and it was suggested that she cooperate with police. What a great result and I slept soundly for the 4 hours left of the night.

So many good people to thank
I would really like to thank the following people for their amazing support throughout that time period.
-Janet Curran and her Mum, who popped in just to collect Janet's massage table and stayed for 2 hours.
-Maria and David Smiddy and Kevvy for their heartfelt support. 
-Brendan Lynch, Natalie Gordon, Stephen Jennison Daniel Maunders and Daniel Knight for helping to search the Mercure grounds for a 500 metre radius. 
-Stephen Flook and his beautiful partner Felicity for withdrawing $1400 from their bank account, giving the money to Kevvy, with instructions to give it to me after they had left for their flight shortly after 7pm that night. Although the iPad and wallet was found the police need to hold it for evidence and will not be returned to me until after I finish my trip across the Nullarbor, and with all my cards cancelled I had no access to cash. So thank you Stephen and Felicity for your amazing generosity. Flooky will be repaid in full on my return.
-Brenton Cope for helping to make things happen very fast.
-Smiddy rider, John Martin for lending me his iPad for the next 3 weeks.
-All the emails and phone calls from Smiddy riders, family and friends
-The Townsville police that responded so quickly for such a small robbery.
-The staff at the Mercure for taking it seriously and responding accordingly, especially the night manager in Dane Tresize.

Turn on the tracker on your device
Anyway I thought that was worth blogging about in full detail for 2 reasons. 1, to thank everyone involved for their help and support. And to remind everyone that your iPad and iPhone devices have these security functions in them but that you need to turn them on. If mine was off this would have been another case of the thief getting away with it scott free. As the police said to me, it was nice to get a win because the majority of the time it gies the way of the criminal.

My next blog I will introduce you to the team of 8 riders and 2 road crew members participating in the 5th edition of the Bottlemart sponsored Sharky OZ 7in7 across the Nullarbor from Esperance to Adelaide. A distance of 2530 kilometers over 15 days with no rest days.

Until then take care.

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