A 24-year-old man has been charged over the alleged theft of a tiny house taken from Canberra on Sunday and sighted in Queensland about 24 hours later.
Queensland police seized the prototype display model in Hervey Bay – 1,416 kilometres north of the capital.
The man, believed to be from Canberra, was charged with bringing stolen goods into the state.
The house is mounted on a trailer and valued at about $20,000.
Within a matter of hours Ms Bray was notified of sightings more than 1,000 kilometres away in rural Queensland.
Ms Bray said she received reports on social media late Wednesday that it was spotted in Hervey Bay.
“I’m certainly very happy it has been found, as on Monday afternoon I was in despair because I thought I’d never get it back,” she said.
“I was astounded”.
‘I’m just really relieved’
Queensland police said they discovered the house in a backyard in the suburb of Dundowran about 3:00pm Wednesday and took it to a police storage facility.
Ms Bray relied heavily on Facebook to help track down her missing house, posting images that led to report of multiple sightings.
Timeline of a travelling house
- Neighbours hear angle grinding in Ms Bray’s backyard and call police.
- Ms Bray discovers the tiny house is missing and posts photos on her Facebook page, which was shared hundreds of times.
- Ms Bray checks her Facebook to receive a number of reports on the prototype’s apparent whereabouts, which she passes on to police.
- She is told it was sighted late Monday afternoon at Kingaroy in Queensland, about 1,199 kilometres from Canberra.
- By Tuesday morning it appeared to have made its way to Kilkivan, another 87 kilometres north of Kingaroy.
- Members of the internet’s “tiny house patrol” tell Ms Bray they may have seen the house in Hervey Bay – yet another 200 kilometres from its last sighting.
- Queensland police confirm a 24-year-old male was charged over the alleged theft.
Her initial post on her personal Facebook account was shared more than 400 times – a reaction that shocked her.
“Whenever I post something about a major crisis in the world I get no response, and then something that is a bit of a crisis for me that is not nearly as bad, goes crazy,” she said.
“When I think about how much it’s blown up, I think people probably thought we did this as some kind of publicity stunt.”
Ms Bray said the house was not registered but the culprits had put registered plates on.
She was not sure when she would get the house back, but hoped it would be soon.
“I’ll be speaking to police later today about where it is, what they can do and how long they need it,” she said.
“I’m just really relieved.”
The tiny house was intended for Ms Bray’s new business through which she will be manufacturing many more of the portable dwellings.
An ACT policing spokesman said this was the first report of a stolen tiny house they had ever received.
More charges could still be made in relation to stealing in the ACT.
The man is due to appear in Hervey Bay Magistrates Court on October 5.