EXPOSED: Underground vigilante groups terrorising streets
They are cruising the streets at night, on the hunt for targets and they're relentless in the face of danger, with police fearful it's only a matter of time before someone dies.
They are part of a growing underground culture across the city, vigilantes taking the law into their own hands to chase young criminals in stolen cars.
Organised and wise to the movements of police, the groups know when and where the young criminals are going to be, often beating police to crash sites.
Some applaud their actions, putting their community first and trying to protect their neighbourhoods, but to the cops on the streets, they're a danger, and many believe it's only a matter of time before they kill someone.
THEY'LL KILL SOMEONE
Vigilante behaviour is not a new movement in a city besieged by youth crime, but a police source has revealed to the Townsville Bulletin the struggles police face as they compete with the groups.
"Someone could so easily die or contribute to the death of an innocent life," they said.
"They are driving a weapon … and there's always a risk there will be someone on the street."
Just this week, an alleged vigilante, who had been chasing four alleged stolen cars, was boxed in, run off the road, dragged from his car and bashed.
Police who have seen the dashcam footage of the violent incident told The Bulletin, the alleged vigilantes were left fearful, after the young drivers allegedly jumped on their bonnet, kicked in their windscreen and beat one of them with a bat.
He was taken to hospital in a stable condition.
Another source said the driving of the alleged vigilante was as bad as that of the children, driving on the wrong side of the road and running a red light, before the violent end on September 7.
Police have charged a 21-year-old Condon man over the incident.
The source said this "serious and concerning" behaviour was happening a lot, but often not reported.
The threat posed to the community was only one issue, with the source saying the "stupid" behaviour stopped police from doing their jobs properly.
"Crews will be trying to follow a stolen car and the stupid cars try to get in between.
"It does our head in."
Police will also often waste their time looking for a reported stolen car only to find out it is a vigilante driving like a manic.
"Members of the public will often hear these cars driving around and think it's stolen.
"These drivers think they are doing the right thing, but it's this behaviour we do not need."
RISK VS REWARD
The police source said the vigilantes are usually the same group of people who drive around "aimlessly" listening to the police scanner and sharing tip offs on their social media pages.
"They are usually young idiots who jump on band wagons."
There has been multiple violent vigilante incidents this year, including a crash on Flinders St where a man rammed a stolen car in February.
Originally published as EXPOSED: Underground vigilante groups terrorising streets