‘My caravan was stolen and it’s shaken my world!’

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Grey nomad caravan thefts
Safety first ... caravan thefts are on the rise.

As the number of caravans and motorhomes on the road in Australia continues to grow, so too it seems does the number of thieves out there who wish to steal them.

While it is difficult to get accurate information on just how many vans are stolen each year in Australia, various reports suggest that the figure could be around 500.

Beyond the bald statistics though, each and every one of these thefts has a devastating effect on the lives of real people seeking to live their dreams.

We recently reported that solo grey nomad Rhonda Scholz  had her Big Lap derailed when her 22’ Aussie Wide Waratah caravan was stolen near Ipswich in Queensland. Now, Rhonda has spoken out about just what an impact the incident has had on her travels and her life.

She was housesitting at the time and the van was parked in the front yard of the property and had a tow ball lock. Rhonda believes she was targeted by thieves who knew exactly what they were doing.

“I believe that they were casing the place as I was usually out all day on the day it was stolen, so they knew they had plenty of time from 6am to 5pm,” she said. “None of the neighbours noticed a thing plus the three dogs that I was minding would have been barking their heads off, once again neighbours heard nothing.”

Rhonda described the theft of her van and all of her possessions inside it as a ‘kick in the guts’. The theft happened back in March 2017 but Rhonda says she is still reeling from its impact.

“I lost everything when the van was stolen except for a very few clothes, my handbag and laptop,” she said. “I was covered by insurance for the van but the contents were way, way underinsured …  I lost all my jewellery, which was substantial, plus jewellery from my mother and other items which belonged to my father, plus many other personal items.

Rhonda has had to spend a lot of money buying new clothes and has been given household items by friends.

“The theft shook me for many months and it still hurts now but I have had to make myself move on,” she said. “I have now purchased another van but it’s not the same and I’m still getting used to it.”

Security is now much higher on Rhonda’s priority list.

“My new van now has an improved tow ball lock with an alarm, two wheel clamps, and a GPS, so hopefully it doesn’t happen again,” she said. “My old van has never been recovered and, any communication with the police was from me and all I got was ‘if we hear anything we will be in contact’.”

Despite the financial and emotional scars, Rhonda is slowly regaining her confidence and is daring to dream again.

“I have done a few short trips so far but hope to get back on the road long term later this year,” she said.

And, as for the thieves who made such a massive hole in her plans and her life.

“I just hope karma gets them,” said Rhonda. “But I will never know.”

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13 Responses to ‘My caravan was stolen and it’s shaken my world!’

  1. It is more than likely being used for accomodation on a bush block somewhere due to its size . With all the transport road checks it would hopefully been picked up by now

    • What roadside checks. I have been towing vans for about 30 years and have never been pulled up for a roadside check and it is very doubtful that your regular police officer would know what he was looking for. Try going into a police station and test them about some towing rules. I have had a van stolen about 7 years ago and have not heard another thing about it. So don’t make assumptions. Graeme

  2. This is exactly why we fitted an off road hitch without a ball for coupling,if they haven’t got the same hitch they cannot steal ours unless they spend the time changing the coupling over

    • Even with an offroad hitch they can still take your van by using the chains, even if chains are locked up they can cut the lock away. If they want your van bad enough they will do anything to get it.
      Scumbags that they are.

  3. They don’t worry about tow ball locks,they chain their tow bar around the coupling and the lock to remove van in a hurry,then cut off padlocks in a quieter setting.

    • I saw one being dragged onto a flat bed truck just down the road from me about 10 pm . Did not take any notice. About a week latter flyer in mail was for reward of the guys van. Told him what I saw but I did not take any details of number plates or signage on the truck.All I saw was it being loaded.

  4. If you are going to have your van parked up for any length of time take the wheels off and put axle stands under it.Put the wheels elsewhere.Also you can set up a camera that sends a picture back to your phone once motion sensor is activated.

  5. Terrible news and sure many more are broken into stealing peoples personal belongings of which much is irreplaceable. Should our caravan (which we love and purchased along with our Patrol 4wd a couple of years ago) be stolen, we would be in more strife than most as it took all our savings (literally) . We do have our house but thats it. We cant afford insurance on our Van but as a Boilermaker/welder , I have incorporated a locking system which locks the wheels from inside the van being difficult to see and deter thieves even if seen under our van. We know that insurance is important but some pensioners like us cant afford.

    • Hi John, we find ourselves in a similar situation as yours and would like to have more info on your self installed security. I am a retired boilermaker myself and any pointers you could provide would be appreciated.

    • That’s interesting, I was always under the impression that if you had no insurance your van had to be deregistered ( we are in Qld) Think we may have been misinformed

  6. GPS tracking device is the only way. Connected to the 12 v system and hidden in the wall or a box on the roof

  7. This could be heartening to you Rhonda we had our van stolen from Geelong. After 9 years we got it back
    Really no one looks for it, our thief upset a mate who dubbed him in to police . Its stressing i know what we went rhrough GOOD LUCK

  8. So sorry to hear that. young kids tried to steal my caravan too but fortunately I caught them as they ran. I know they live in my street and I do recognise them every time I see them. And I hate them like a passion I wish karma gets them

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