American tourist says being mugged at knifepoint in outback WA ‘lowest point of my life’
American tourist Richard Kezer was mugged at knifepoint on his first night in Kalgoorlie-Boulder. (ABC Goldfields-Esperance: Jarrod Lucas)
An American tourist who was mugged at knifepoint in outback Western Australia says thieves left him stranded with just the clothes on his back and one shoe.
Richard Kezer from Melbourne, Florida has taken 12 months off from his IT job to travel the globe.
He landed in Perth on Australia’s west coast barely a fortnight ago and had travelled 600 kilometres inland to the gold mining town of Kalgoorlie-Boulder.
The 50-year-old was hoping to make a lucky strike doing some metal detecting and was having the time of his life until 10.45pm on Monday.
Richard Kezer wanted to try his luck at metal detecting for gold in Kalgoorlie-Boulder. (Back Roads: Ron Ekkel)
He had pulled up for the night in a parking lot next door to a swimming pool complex, and was working inside his four-wheel-drive preparing for his outback prospecting trip when he was set upon by two men.
They threatened Mr Kezer with a knife and an unidentified metal object before stealing his car and camper trailer.
“They left me there with just my socks on, a pair of trousers, a shirt, one shoe and my sleeping bag which I was rolling out,” he said.
“I had no phone, no wallet. I had nothing and it was a very lonely place at that parking lot.
“The first car that approached I ran out into the street and waved her down.
“She stopped, noticed I needed help and called the police.”
Stolen car found but trailer still missing
Mr Kezer sustained minor injuries, with grazes and bruises treated at Kalgoorlie Hospital.
The two offenders are described as dark-skinned, about 183 centimetres tall, with slim builds.
The car was found damaged on the outskirts of Kalgoorlie-Boulder on Tuesday, and so was Mr Kezer’s passport, which was inside.
But the custom-made blue and silver trailer — registration number 1TII981 — is still missing.
Taken by surprise
Mr Kezer said the attackers had taken him by surprise and pulled him out of the car while he was working inside.
He said the language they used “made me believe they were serious”.
“They opened the door and attacked me. I tried to fight them back, but I was on my knees,” he said.
“They were hitting me, asking me for my wallet, keys. They were threatening me.
“I was pulled out of the car and landed on the ground and I was hurt by that, and they were kicking me while I was lying on the floor.”
He described the moments immediately after the attack as “the lowest point of my life so far”.
Detective Senior Constable Renee Healy has appealed to the public for information. (ABC Goldfields-Esperance: Jarrod Lucas)
Police make public appeal for information
Detective Senior Constable Renee Healy said police were appealing to the public for information about the attack and to help find the trailer.
She said the community had rallied around Mr Kezer in his time of need, with people lending money, accommodation, food and even contact lenses.
“We’re very happy to see the community has come together and actually looked after him at this time when he’s lost all his personal possessions, so we’re thanking the community for that,” she said.
“Everything that he owns has been taken … he’s very grateful for how he’s been treated by the Kalgoorlie community.”
Case of wrong place at the wrong time
Mr Kezer is on a 12-month visa and had planned to see as much of Australia as possible, but is now weighing up whether to return home.
He said he would still be willing to come back to Australia and would tell family and friends to do the same.
The historic gold mining centre of Kalgoorlie-Boulder in outback Western Australia. (ABC Goldfields-Esperance: Jarrod Lucas)
“What a wonderful nation it is, and I still think I am going to have some nicer moments in Australia, but I have run into something that could have happened anywhere,” he said.
“It could have happened to anyone. I was just there at the wrong time. It was bad luck.”
Tourist has seen best and worst of people
Mr Kezer said his faith in humanity had been somewhat restored by people who had helped him survive the ordeal.
“I have met so many nice people who have helped me out,” he said.
“They loaned me money even though they didn’t know me, they found me some contact lenses for free, I was offered breakfast, a taxi driver gave me his number in case I needed a ride, I was offered a bed to sleep in.
“People around Kalgoorlie are really nice and I’ve seen that side of the town.
“I planned this whole trip as an adventure — and it turned out to be an adventure, but not as planned.”