Tenterden farmer Tori Squire was left in shock after the brazen theft of a ute and firefighting unit from the same paddock she was harvesting on Tuesday night.
The grey Mazda ute, which the Squire family use on their farm, was one of three vehicles stolen in the district in two days.
Great Southern police are investigating the car thefts and the possibility they are linked to nearby burglaries and stolen property.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, police believe three vehicles were stolen from Tenterden, Frankland River and Perillup.
Two of those cars have been since recovered but Mt Barker officer-in-charge Sergeant David Johnson said inquiries were continuing into each incident.
“Three cars were stolen yesterday and overnight,” Sgt Johnson said on Wednesday.
“Investigations are under way but they could be linked to burglaries in the Frankland River area.
“One of the recovered cars is being towed and has some stolen property inside.”
Ms Squire was in the final stages of harvest on her family farm, east of Frankland River, when she noticed the lights turn on in their work ute, only a few hundred metres away from the harvester.
The ute contained a firefighting unit and was parked near silos at the edge of the paddock Ms Squire and her sister Edwina were working in.
The paddock is bordered by Poorrarecup Road and Mallawillup Road.
“Edwina and I had about 30 minutes left harvesting in that paddock,” Tori said.
“The way the ute works is the headlights come on when the door is opened without the keys in the ignition.
“I thought it was weird because I saw the lights come on and Edwina was in the chaser bin behind me and I knew our parents were in Albany.
“We saw the lights come on and off a couple of times, Edwina went down to check and that’s when we saw it heading through the bush and out of the paddock.
“After we had finished found we found an abandoned Mitsubishi Challenger, an old farm vehicle on the road our paddock.
“It was parked there, bonnet up, with a jerry can of fuel so obviously that is how they came to find our ute.”
The Squires reported the incident to police but the ute, which had just been filled with fuel, had not been found by late Wednesday.
Tori Squire said that as a farming family, they had become complacent about leaving vehicles unlocked, but she was disappointed someone would take advantage of them being busy with harvest.
“It was just unexpected,” Tori said.
“They were in luck I guess, it had a full tank of fuel and the keys were on the floor.
“Anyone can walk onto a farm I guess but we are careless with vehicles because you don’t think someone would steal a car from people who are harvesting at 8.30pm.
“The firefighting unit on the back, that was the real kick in the teeth as we can’t harvest without that and we only have four or five days left.”