Ned Kelly letterbox returned to Rochester

PREVIOUS STORY: Ned Kelly letterbox stolen near Rochester

Rochester’s iconic Ned Kelly letterbox is once again standing guard on the Northern Highway after being returned to its rightful owner on Wednesday.

Police tracked the notorious outlaw to the backyard of a property in Echuca, where he had been holed up since going missing in December.

Leading Senior Constable John Atley of the Campaspe Crime Investigation Unit said uniformed police had zeroed in on the steel-suited bushranger following a tip-off from a member of the public.

“Taking out a warrant for Ned Kelly was an interesting thing,” he said.

Leading Senior Constable Atley said police had charged a 28-year-old man from Delacombe, a suburb of Ballarat, with theft over what he described as a “silly decision”.

“I believe they’ve just taken it from the roadway, loaded it into a ute and taken it to an address in Echuca where they’ve taken the concrete off and utilised it at that address as a garden ornament in the rear yard,” he said.

Owner Max Nelson said he was relieved to have the 225 kilogram steel letterbox back in pride of place and thanked Rochester and Echuca police for their detective work.

He said the local community had rallied behind his family to help bring Ned back home.

“People on Facebook helped the police track him down and the media’s been good too,” he said.

“They all seemed to enjoy him standing out there, it’s a bit of an icon now to the town.”

Leading Senior Constable Atley said it was good to see the police and Ned Kelly on the same side for a change.

“We got Ned back which was very good, the victims are very, very happy,” he said.

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