A CAR fire in the early hours of Tuesday morning has left another community member in the lurch and without a means of transportation.
Grandmother and refugee advocate Carmel Kavanagh's 2001 model Toyota Corolla was stolen from her driveway in Newington as she was warming it up before driving to church on Sunday morning.
Mrs Kavanagh, who works with the House of Welcome Ballarat refugee advocacy group, said the car was full of personal items and two children's car seats.
People are really tense here, once they steal your car keys they have your house keys and you've got to get locks changed.Carmel Kavanagh
"We seek to alleviate the stress of people in the district, so it becomes that little bit less convenient to help them," she said.
Without her car, Mrs Kavanagh's ability to drop off supplies and help other community members is diminished.
She said she and her husband were "trusting, country people".
"For people working in the community, it makes a difference to not have your car - now I can't take older people around and I can't take my grandchildren out," Mrs Kavanagh said.
"People are a little tense here in this area now. Once your car keys have been stolen then someone has your house keys and you need to get the locks changed."
The car was spotted in the Ballarat CBD on dashcam footage the following day, before it was dumped. Then, in the early hours of Tuesday morning, emergency services responded to a fire in Canadian.
Firefighters initially responded to a call that there was smoke coming from a mine shaft off Elsworth Street around 4.50am but upon arriving at the scene, near Sovereign Hill, firefighters discovered a car engulfed in flames.
The car, since determined to be Mrs Kavanagh's, was completely destroyed.
Police investigations are ongoing.
The incident follows the Dridan family's car being stolen from their home and set alight at Invermay Park about 4.30am last Friday morning.
The Dridan family, whose 12-year-old son Blake has severe aplastic anaemia, has been left stranded without a car to drive their son to medical appointments at the Royal Children's Hospital. Blake's father Luke told The Courier last week that the incident was a blow to the family.
"It hasn't been a great two years, and this just about tops it off to be honest," he said. "It shakes everyone up, it makes you stop and think where you take some things for granted that maybe you shouldn't."
The 2019 crime statistics revealed an increase in vehicle crime across the Ballarat region, with a trend indicating that stolen cars were being burnt to ensure no forensic evidence is left behind.
Anyone with information on either of the car thefts or fires is urged to phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
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