$10,000 reward offered for stolen van

Van dealer Terry Ryan appeals to the public after a brand new van vanished from his lot.

$10,000 reward offered for stolen van
$10,000 reward offered for stolen van
"SOMEBODY LIKES OUR caravans very much," says van dealer Terry Ryan, staying positive after a $40,000 van was recently stolen from his yard.

Long-term owner of Country Life Caravans in the suburb of Campbellfield in Melbourne's north, Terry awoke one morning to find the company gate smashed and a brand new Bushmaster van gone.

The incident comes amid reports from van dealers and insurance companies of a recent increase in van theft. Terry believes the phenomenon is partly due to the ease with which thieves can rebadge stolen vans.

"Vicroads lets them register without asking any questions," Terry said. The process to replace a VIN identification plate on a trailer isn’t costly, especially in comparison to the price of a new van. Furthermore, according to Terry, it's all too easy to forge a document saying you have built your van and you are the rightful owner. "The whole thing is a scandal, to be honest," he says.

IT MAY SURPRISE some to know that the vans on site at Country Life Caravans aren't insured, but Terry says it's simply a matter of cost. "Insurance is too dear," Terry said. "They want $26,000 to insure the yard — I'd have to lose a van every two years or it doesn't pay."

Terry cites several incidents in which vans have been stolen from his yard over the last two decades, and only one in which the culprits were discovered — by Terry himself — and the van returned. "I was the luckiest man alive that day," says Terry. "I saw them using it, out of sheer luck, and called the police."

Terry is confident he could distinguish the van if given the opportunity, and has offered a $10,000 reward for the individual that leads him to the van "in one piece". The rig in question is an 18ft 6in (interior length) Bushmaster caravan with rear ensuite and front boot. Distinctive features include the van's latte-coloured interior and a Thetford 164L fridge.

If you have any information, please email Terry at:

WORDS Amy Middleton