Helping hand for tourists

A Blaxland good samaritan has taken in three backpackers who lost all their possessions during a car robbery at Euroka Clearing last month.

Josiah Drew came across the three young female backpackers searching the streets of Glenbrook for their possessions including passports, cameras, a laptop and clothing on Saturday February 1. The trio had been camping at Glenbrook’s Euroka campground the night before and were unaware of the park’s closing time.

“They had driven out to get supplies, when they came back they realised they would have to park in the car park and walk in,” Mr Drew said. “Unfortunately, and most likely due to partial naivety and the Blue Mountains’ reputation as being a friendly part of the world, they left some valuables, including all of their identification and passports in the car and returning in the morning they found their rear window and driver’s side window had been smashed and contents of the car stolen,” he said.

“The low life grubs even stole their shampoo, hair brush and toilet paper.”

Ilenia Pelliciou, 24, of Italy, has been travelling with French friends Vanessa Beaufils, 26, and Aurelie ‘Lily’ Pierre, also 26, after meeting up five months ago while packing mangoes in Bowen, Queensland. 

All the girls like the outdoors and have been regular campers in Australia’s national parks.

“We went to get food and when we came back the gate was closed,” Ms Beaufils said.

“Vanessa and me we did the four k’s back in, in the morning and everything inside [the car] is gone,” Ms Pierre said. 

“They leave nothing,” Ms Beaufils added.

Priceless photos of more than eight months of travel are now missing.

“This is the worst,” Ms Beaufils said, “the pictures, for me it’s one part of my life I can’t find again, I can buy new clothes but they [the photos] were really important for us.”

While Italian authorities have been quick to re-instate Ms Pelliciou’s documents the French girls will need to wait another month for their IDs.

“They are stuck now until they can prove to their embassy that they are in fact themselves so they can continue on their working holiday,” Mr Drew said.

Messages have been posted on Facebook in the hope the three foreign passports will be returned.

Springwood Police Inspector Sonya Tabor said “we’re still looking for the offenders” and added “there’s no higher incident of crime at Euroka ... it appears to be a one-off event”. A second car was also broken into at the site on the same evening.

The travellers say it hasn’t spoiled their experience of Australia, despite needing to stay longer to save more money before continuing on to Asia. And all three admit they were “so lucky” to find Josiah Drew.

Mr Drew, 27, an environmental project manager, helped organise discounted repairs of their car and gave them free lodgings for a week. He also took them to Manly and other popular sites. “We forgot what happened,” Ms Beaufils said.

He will “put them up again” as they return to the Mountains over the next month awaiting their documents.

“I was just shocked someone would do it ... maybe I wanted to show them that the Lower Blue Mountains wasn’t like that.”

Anyone with information can call Springwood Police on 4751 0299.

Josiah Drew with Ilenia Pelliciou, 24, of Italy, Vanessa Beaufils  and Lily Pierre, both 26, from France.

Josiah Drew with Ilenia Pelliciou, 24, of Italy, Vanessa Beaufils and Lily Pierre, both 26, from France.


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