In Mount Isa, children as young as six roam the streets dressed as ‘Latino-Mexican’ gangsters and tagging their gang signs.
That’s the word according to the mayor of the Queensland town and a group of local women and parents – who claim a gang of youths are behind daily break-ins and robberies.
It’s alleged members of a child-gang, named Makaveli Boys (MKB), are being conditioned by adults to brazenly commit the crimes on their behalf.
Photos uploaded online lay bare the terror experienced by locals in the mining town – with ransacked houses and countless smashed car windows.
Young children in Queensland’s Mount Isa have been filmed fighting and smoking bongs
The kids have allegedly played a prominent part in a crime spree that has taken hold of Queensland’s Mount Isa (pictured: A car allegedly broken into by a gang of children)
The group, who call themselves the ‘Makavali Boys’ have been linked to a spate of youth crime in the area
Children as young as six have been implicated in the crime spree, and an eight-year-old was arrested in the last three weeks, accused of a break and enter.
Mt Isa locals have told Daily Mail Australia child-gang MVB are behind a great deal of the robberies. Video shared on social media shows mostly young boys smoking and fighting in the street.
Many, including the local mayor, believe adults are behind the gang and are teaching kids to commit crimes on their behalf.
Sarah Gale, who received about 200 replies to a Facebook call-out asking locals to detail crimes committed against them by children in the past month said MVB was primarily children under 17 who were influenced by adults.
The kids use both crafted and home made bongs to smoke out of, and share the videos widely on YouTube, where they receive hundreds of views
Locals have accused the children of breaking in to houses and ransacking rooms (pictured)
‘They go around spray painting things [with those letters]. There’s heaps of different things – I don’t know if they’re rumours, but apparently you have to steal stuff to get into the gang, and there’s older people who are training the kids,’ she said.
‘Most of the kids are aged 8 to 17 – it’s not often you see 30-year-olds going in and doing it, but I’m sure some of them are behind it.’
When Ms Gale’s claims were put to Mt Isa Mayor Joyce McCulloch, she said it was ‘absolutely’ true.
‘The youth are being used by much older teenagers and people in their early adulthood, a negative impact on society,’ she said.
Videos shared to YouTube showed young children smoking from bongs made of plastic drink bottles and garden hoses.
Some of the videos are captioned ‘Makavalli bong rips’, and one child is credited with taking a hit of tobacco through the home made device.
Locals believe the boys are trained or encouraged to commit crimes by older residents
Dozens of videos broadcast the street fights between kids in the area (pictured)
Other videos show the children fighting on the streets with other kids gathered around.
Some of the fights are more tame than others, but shadows of phones filming the ‘boxers’ are seen in all of the clips.
Videos are then posted to YouTube under the titles ‘gang fights’ and ‘Mt Isa fights’. They are published by the same boy who is sharing the clips of ‘Makavalli bong rips’.
Locals in Mount Isa blame the group of boys for the majority of the youth crime in the area, but mother-of-three Tegan Powyer says they don’t understand the ramifications of what they’re doing.
‘They think they’re some Latino-Mexican gang,’ she said.
‘They pull up their socks and have this gangster mentality, but you say boo and they p*** themselves.’
The group are known to spray paint MVB on houses and cars (pictured)
It is rumoured kids are told to commit robberies to earn entry into the ‘gang’
When Ms Powyer’s home was allegedly invaded by children in the middle of the night, she chased the children out of her house and on to the street with a tomahawk.
The 27-year-old says police then took the axe off her and said they were more concerned about her having it in the house than about the children who had allegedly been found in her house in the middle of the night.
Another woman in town, a widower in her 80’s, purchased cattle prods after she was forced to lock herself in her bedroom while kids ransacked her living room.
Ms Powyer says they are not the only ones feeling unsafe and in need of protection.
‘It’s to the point where a child is going to get killed,’ she said.
The sentiment is shared by Ms Gale, who said it’s ‘only a matter of time’ before someone gets hurt’.
‘It could be one of these kids, because everyone is getting really fed up with it,’ she said.
‘Where do we draw the line? When something bad happens, it’s too late.’
While the group are allegedly breaking into and entering houses, even while the occupants are home, one local mother believes they’re more of a nuisance than a menace – but she kept a weapon at the door in order to keep them out of her house
Many, including the mayor, believe the children are trained or encouraged by adults (pictured: a car allegedly broken into by children)
State MP Robbie Katter organised for 10 extra police officers to come from surrounding towns to help deal with the problem.
In Operation Tucson, officers stopped children in the streets, photographed them and drove them home.
Over three weeks, officers arrested 35 children and charged them with 47 offences.
One of those children was eight years old, and they were charged with breaking and entering.
Mr Katter said the levels of crime were getting ‘out of control’ in the lead-up to the beginning of the police Operation.
‘It had become a crisis, people didn’t feel safe even when they were in their own homes,’ Mr Katter said in a press release.
‘Retirement homes, businesses and vehicles were being regularly targeted and the criminals were roaming the streets without any fear of repercussions and people were furious,’ he said.
Robbie Katter, the State MP for the area, has brought in extra police to help deal with the problem, but local residents and even the Mayor are not impressed with the bandaid solution
A spokesperson for Queensland Police told Daily Mail Australia children were committing crimes in the area to an extent where an Operation had been set up, but denied adults were involved.
‘Extra police have been deployed to Mount Isa to assist in Operation Tuscon which has already led to the arrest of 35 juveniles on 47 charges ranging from willful damage to burglary,’ they said.
‘There is no evidence to indicate adults are assisting with these particular offences.’
The spokesperson declined to comment directly on MKB, telling Daily Mail Australia they were unable to say anything ‘due to operational reasons’.
Ms Gale said while the strengthened police presence was welcome, it was not enough.
‘The police are doing a fantastic job – they’ve been doing a lot of street walks, but the kids have just moved over to a different suburb,’ she claimed.
‘You can have all these coppers, but it’s not going to fix these problems.’