Fortitude Valley Cyclist Faces Charges in Car Keying Rampage

A 51-year-old cyclist and Fortitude Valley resident has been charged with eight counts of wilful damage in connection with a series of car keying incidents across Brisbane. 

Read: A Taste of History: China Sea Restaurant and the Infamous Arrest That Became a Meme

The accused, identified as John Anthony Lyons, allegedly carried out the vandalism while riding his bicycle, targeting parked vehicles in multiple suburbs. Lyons, reportedly a university climate change researcher, appeared in Brisbane Arrests Court last week for the first mention of his case.

Based on reports, he targeted expensive vehicles in various suburbs in the city between September 2023 and May 2024. 

Photo credit: Queensland Police Service/Facebook

CCTV footage released by QPS to the public shows a man, purportedly Lyons, using keys or a similar object to scratch parked cars, including a black Holden Colorado.

According to court documents, the incidents occurred in multiple locations:

  • Woolloongabba: Four cars on Hubert Street (24 September 2023 and 30 December 2023)
  • Kangaroo Point: One car at the corner of Bright and Hamilton Street (19 November 2023)
  • Fortitude Valley: One car at the corner of Arthur and Brunswick streets (27 April 2024)
  • New Farm: One car on Harcourt Street (27 April 2024)
  • Woolloongabba: One car near 765 Stanley Street (5 May 2024)

Lyons was charged on June 19 and released on police bail. During Wednesday’s court proceeding, he represented himself and requested an adjournment to seek legal advice. Magistrate Louise Shephard granted a four-week adjournment and extended his bail.

Photo credit: Queensland Police Service/Facebook

In a dramatic turn of events following the hearing, Lyons attempted to evade media attention by hiding within the Brisbane Arrests Court building for four hours. When he finally left, he was seen sprinting down the street, concealing his identity behind a hoodie and mask in an effort to avoid reporters.

The case has drawn significant attention, particularly due to Lyons’ reported occupation as a climate change researcher. The motive behind the car keying remains unclear at this time.

Photo credit: Queensland Police Service/Facebook

Under Queensland legislation, intentionally and illegally damaging or destroying property is considered a criminal offence. This act is typically classified as a misdemeanour, unless specified otherwise. 

If no alternative penalty is stipulated, individuals found guilty of this offence may face up to five years of imprisonment. This law applies to all cases of willful property damage, regardless of the specific circumstances or the property involved.

Read: Fortitude Valley Unit Complex Residents Targeted in String of Garage Thefts

The matter is set to return to court in four weeks, during which time Lyons is expected to secure legal representation.

Published 15-July-2024

Queensland Blue Light Celebrates 40 Years of Youth Engagement

Queensland Blue Light, a not-for-profit organisation working in partnership with the Queensland Police Service (QPS), is marking its 40th anniversary this year. The organisation, known for its youth-focused programs and activities, has been a staple in Queensland communities since 1984.

To commemorate this milestone, Queensland Blue Light is hosting a “Back to the 80s” event on Saturday, July 20, at The Tivoli in Fortitude Valley. Early bird tickets are currently available through Try Booking.

Photo Credit: TryBooking Australia

The Queensland Blue Light Story

The organisation’s journey began on July 26, 1984, at the Albert Waterways Community Hall on the Gold Coast. The inaugural Blue Light disco, attended by 219 young people, was conceived as a way for police to positively engage with youth in a safe environment. The concept quickly gained popularity, reaching its peak in the 1990s with an impressive 2.3 million young participants.

As social media began to change youth socialisation patterns in the new millennium, Queensland Blue Light adapted its approach. While discos declined in popularity, the organisation introduced new activities such as movie nights, laser tag, skating, sports, and family events to maintain its connection with young people.

The Blue Light Programs

Today, Queensland Blue Light operates 40 branches throughout the state, each run by a Police Coordinator and community volunteers. The organisation has expanded its offerings to include several targeted programs:

  1. Blue EDGE (Educate, Develop, Grow & Empower): Launched in 2016, this early intervention program for 12 to 17-year-olds aims to build positive relationships between at-risk youth and police through physical activity and motivational sessions.
  2. Blue Light Shearing: Initiated by Officer Laurie Bateman, a world record holder in sheep shearing, this program teaches shearing skills to young people as a means of preventing offending behaviour and providing future employment opportunities.
  3. ELEVATE (Everyone Lift to End Violence and Target Education): A primary prevention program that educates students from Year 5 through Year 12 about domestic and family violence, promoting respectful relationships.

These programs, delivered in collaboration with QPS volunteers, reflect Queensland Blue Light’s ongoing commitment to positively impacting young lives across the state.

As Queensland Blue Light celebrates four decades of service, it continues to exemplify the diverse and community-oriented nature of careers within the Queensland Police Service. The organisation’s enduring success highlights the potential for law enforcement to play a constructive role in youth development and community building.

Published 20-June-2024