Dramatic Ballarat car chase ends in citizen’s arrest

Joe Fontana poses for a photo after the alleged thief was arrested. Source: Facebook.

Joe Fontana poses for a photo after the alleged thief was arrested. Source: Facebook.

When Joe Fontana saw a man steal his ute from the front of his workshop, he decided he wasn’t going to let it go. 

The result – a dramatic 17-kilometre “chase” ending in a citizen’s arrest.

Mr Fontana, a mechanic, was inside his workshop about 3.30pm on Monday afternoon when he saw a black Commodore pull up outside the business.

Watching CCTV footage, Mr Fontana saw a man circle the car yard a few times.

WATCH MR FONTANA TALK ABOUT THE INCIDENT HERE

“There was a guy doing electrical work outside and I called him inside to watch (the CCTV),” Mr Fontana said.

Mr Fontana allegedly saw a man drive the ute from the property.

“So I went out the front with my boss and we ran to her car. The electrical worker jumped in his car.” 

The two car followed Mr Fontana’s ute in what he described as a “high-speed chase”. 

The trio continued down Carngham Road, towards Cardigan Village, travelling around 17 kilometres.

He said another car joined them. 

The ute eventually ran off the road and Mr Fontana stopped to try to apprehend the driver in the middle of train tracks on Weighbridge Road in Windermere.

“We contained him and subdued him until the police arrived and he was arrested,” he said. 

Mr Fontana said he was driven to “chase down” the driver of his ute because he didn’t want him to “get away with it”.

“The police can’t chase him, but I sure can.

“The ute was too valuable for me to lose.” 

THE CHASE LASTED FOR MORE THAN 17 KILOMETRES

Was Mr Fontana at all scared during the chase? Judging by pictures that have gone viral on social media, definitely not. 

Since posting about the incident last night, it has already gone viral and been shared more than 6000 times on Facebook.

Police say a 26-year-old man has been charged over the theft of the vehicle.

POLICE STATEMENT

“A man has been arrested and charged following the alleged theft of a vehicle in Windermere yesterday afternoon.

It is believed a group of witnesses observed a man allegedly stealing a Silver Ford Duel cab ute on Wiltshire Lane in Ballarat about 3.30pm.

The witnesses then followed the allegedly stolen vehicle onto Weighbridge Road where it is believed a collision between the vehicles occurred.

The driver of the stolen vehicle was apprehended by the witnesses at the scene until police arrived a short time later.

The 26-year-old Ballarat man was arrested and has been charged with theft of motor vehicle.”

COURT UPDATE

A man charged over the alleged theft of a motor vehicle in Wiltshire Lane appeared briefly in the Ballarat Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

The man, who faces four charges including unlicensed driving, going equipped to steal and committing an indictable offence while on bail, made no application for bail.

When asked if there were any custody management issues, the man's defence lawyer told the court his client had injuries to the side of his face and ankle, and was withdrawing from a drug of addiction.

The man will reappear in court on March 29.