Keith Upward, 80, was robbed of his busking money during a performance in Nambour on Wednesday. Photo: John McCutcheon
Keith Upward, 80, was robbed of his busking money during a performance in Nambour on Wednesday. Photo: John McCutcheon

Outrage after 80-year-old busker is robbed of his takings

An 80-year-old busker has been left furious by two teenage boys after they stole his hard-earned money during a performance in Nambour.

Karaoke king Keith Upward was busking on Lowe St on Wednesday morning when he was approached by the teens from behind.

"I reckon I had about $100 after an about an hour, and I was about to pack up," he said.

"These two scrotes, teenagers, probably 14 or 15, they must have been sitting behind me."

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With Mr Upward's money basket sitting 1.5m away due to COVID-19 restrictions, he said the teens took advantage of the easy access.

"They came up from behind and came in front of me … and they just picked the basket up and went across the road," he said.

"The one behind, he looked back and laughed and I was sort of in shock, more than anything."

Karaoke singer Keith Upward started his singing career three years ago. Photo: John McCutcheon
Karaoke singer Keith Upward started his singing career three years ago. Photo: John McCutcheon

The Coast resident stopped mid-song to chase the thieves down Queen St, but Mr Upward said they disappeared into a dead-end carpark.

"They were fit young kids so they would've scaled the fence and got into Ann St, and scattered somewhere," he said.

"I got a lot of support from the locals, but it just left a dirty taste in my mouth."

Mr Upward said he first thought the teens were playing a prank on the pensioner, who often busks in the area.

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"I thought it was a joke, at first," he said.

"Sometimes you get young blokes come down and bend to pick it up … just as something to make them laugh.

"I thought it was that at first but no, they took the whole basket and off they went."

Although Mr Upward said while he didn't need the money for his next meal or to pay rent, the theft could've made a negative impact on someone who did.

"I don't do it for the money, I do it for the enjoyment and the fact I still can do it," he said.

"I bring smiles to people's faces.

Mr Upward often performs in Nambour. Photo: John McCutcheon
Mr Upward often performs in Nambour. Photo: John McCutcheon

"It's just the thought that they wouldn't know that.

"I could've been desperate and wanting that money for my next meal, they wouldn't have known that.

"That's what makes me mad, actually, really mad."

Having made a report to police, Mr Upward hoped the teenagers would be caught and punished for their actions.

"It was the best morning I've ever had … the last four sessions I've done I've made $70," he said.

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"But it's not all about the money.

"I just worry that these kids, if they get away with it, they're going to grow up and become hardened criminals.

"But I'll be going there tomorrow, and I'll be singing."

A Queensland Police Service spokesman said officers had put in a request to obtain CCTV footage of the incident.

Anyone with information is urged to contact police.


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