THREE mean-spirited jail escapees left 81-year-old Dorothy Dehaan devastated after stealing her maroon Kia car from her Townsville home Wednesday night.
It was then driven at speeds of up to 140km/h down the Bruce Highway, pursued at times by police.
With it's distinctive signage advertising 'HoundDog Hairdressing" - a pet grooming business operated by her daughter Janeen Ostrowski - it was last seen by police somewhere near Gin Gin nearly 1000kms away.
With its bright yellow paw print signage the theft has even left police shaking their heads as to why the escapee's would steal such a high visibility car and hadn't dumped it.
Mrs Ostrowski said the car meant a lot more to her mother, a pensioner who cannot afford to buy a new one.
"It's a symbol of her freedom and independence. She's 81 and heartbroken at the loss," she said.
"She was in her bedroom asleep with Missy her little three-legged poodle when they broke in.
"Mum is lucky that she slept through it as she has an aneurysm.
"They were desperate enough as they were on the run. If they had punched her or knocked her out it could have been a death sentence.
"I thank God she stayed asleep and Missy didn't bark but they had the air conditioner on."
When she upgraded her vehicle Mrs Ostrowski gave the Kia to her mother and paid its registration as Ms Dehaan drove it around with the bright signs advertising the grooming business.
She is now very worried about her mother's health and the anxiety over the break-in saying that she may now have to change her living habits.
"They broke in through the door after she went to bed at 11pm. They also stole her handbag, cards and money," Mrs Ostrowski said.
"She remembers seeing the story on TV news about the men fleeing prison but she had no idea they would then break into her house and steal her car."
"I'd love to know how my mum ended up being singled out by them. They cut the screen door and opened the door.
"She didn't know until she woke up in a fright this morning at 7am.
"She just wants her car back."