Cabbie praises cops for finding his stolen wallet and phone
PETER Smith has been driving professionally since 1978 and has seen the ugly side of Gladstone more often than most.
A few years ago Mr Smith stopped driving his cab at night to avoid drunk and drug-affected passengers.
But when he put his keys into the ignition to fire up his cab at 5am on Saturday, he had no idea he would have his wallet and phone stolen by the first person he picked up.
"I started at five and had a pick-up at 5.30am from a phone box at the Valley bank and dropped her at Off Lane," Mr Smith said.
The passenger whipped out her eftpos card, punched in her pin, paid $6.70 for the fare and headed off into the morning.
What Mr Smith didn't realise was that at some point during the short trip, the woman had helped herself to his wallet and phone which was sitting in the centre console.
"I got to my next job and that's when I realised my phone was gone.
"I tried calling it and it just went straight to my voicemail," he said.
He went to the police station and reported the theft. When Gladstone police called him back within an hour, saying they had his wallet and phone back, his mind was blown.
"How good is that," he said.
"We all hear people bag the police but they're doing a bloody good job."
It was the first time a passenger had stolen from him.
"Cabbies always cop the brunt of someone's fury," he said.
However it hasn't been all smooth sailing, with the woman throwing away his SIM card and, most importantly, his driver's licence.
"The police were brilliant and did everything they could to ease the stress," he said.