Belgian backpackers Sarah Balcer and Heidi Cornelissen have had a less than perfect stay on the Fraser Coast.
Belgian backpackers Sarah Balcer and Heidi Cornelissen have had a less than perfect stay on the Fraser Coast. Alistair Brightman

Thief hits our visitors

BELGIAN backpacker Sarah Balcer is pleading for her passport to be returned after her bag was snatched off the beach at Scarness during her first day in Hervey Bay on Monday.

Sarah and her friend Heidi Cornelissen left the bag and their towels on the beach while they went wading in the ocean and were about 20 metres away when they saw a kid in a bright pink shirt grab the bag and run off.

Heidi gave chase but couldn’t catch the robber.

The brown linen bag with three flowers on it contained Sarah’s passport, wallet, bank and credit cards, MP3 player, keys to their hire campervan, mobile phone, notebook and driver’s licence.

They said another lady had seen two kids running away and one had dropped their wallet which was picked up by a man who said he would hand it in to police.

Sarah said he had not given it to the police but since it might lead to identifying the thieves, she has publicly asked him to contact police.

She said the wallet only had about $20 in it but she was unable to access any of the money in her bank account because she did not have her cards or identification.

Sarah said it would take about a month for the embassy to issue a new passport.

Heidi sat next to their hire campervan all day on Monday because they were worried the thief would use the stolen keys to break into the van.

The tourists have only been in Australia for a month as part of a seven-month holiday and are making their way up the coast to Cairns.

Sarah and Heidi laughed at the knock-on effects of the bag snatch including how all of Sarah’s receipts were in her wallet so she was having trouble making an insurance claim for the stolen items.

Anyone with information can phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.



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