Cut to the chase
By BELINDA SCOTT
'GET caught at the Katch' took on a whole new meaning on Sunday.
In fact Sunday was an amazing day all round, said Coffs Harbour chef and restaurateur Todd Towler.
His day started perfectly.
He rolled over in bed to find his new baby daughter, Olivia Margaret, asleep beside him and his wife Jill home early from hospital.
Todd Towler was one proud and happy daddy as he welcomed the third addition to the Towler family.
And he was still on Cloud Nine from the success of the 2004 Coffs Coast Food and Wine Festival the previous week.
Mr Towler had been like a cat on hot bricks for the whole week leading up to the Festival because Jill was due to give birth and he was dreading the thought that the baby might decide to arrive in the middle of the dinner or the picnic.
So he went to work on Sunday blissfully planning lots of family outings.
But while he was putting out the garbage as he finished work at 9.30pm, someone took his car keys off the keyring hanging in the back door of his Jetty restaurant and drove away in his car, parked next to the door.
As soon as he realised it was not a joke, Mr Towler and his assistant chef Dean drove around looking for the vehicle for 30 minutes, then reported the theft to the police.
With his perfect day in ruins, Mr Towler decided he would have to go to his father's house to borrow a car so he could take his older children to school on Monday.
But as the two chefs pulled out of the Harbour Mobil service station, Mr Towler spotted his car fairly 'flying' past down Harbour Drive and yelled to Dean to do a U-turn and follow it.
By the time the amateur cops reached the Jet- ty Theatre they thought they had lost the trail, but they kept hunting and as they stopped in Mildura Street, the stolen car skidded between them and a line of parked vehicles as Dean slammed his car into reverse.
The thieves had had enough ? they pulled over, abandoned the car and took to their feet, but they weren't fast enough to get away from the chef patrol.
"Don't steal my car ? I bloody well need it, I've got a new baby," Todd roared as he grabbed one of the startled car-nappers, a woman in her 30s, and made a citizen's arrest.
The second car-napper, a man in his 40s, was collected from the bush by Coffs Harbour police officers Constable Wearne and Constable Puttock who arrived on the scene at just the right moment.
Todd Towler said the NRMA representative he spoke to said in nine years of hearing sad stories of stolen and burnt-out vehicles she had never heard of an owner rescuing his car in simi- lar circumstances.