Cowardly thieves target elderly at retirement villages
ELDERLY residents of Townsville retirement villages are being targeted by low- life thieves, prompting police to ramp up patrols.
Seven units were targeted at two retirement villages on Ross River Rd between Saturday and Monday and police have warned locals to lock up.
The offences come after “Margaret” ( pictured), who lives at another retirement village, confronted a would- be thief prowling outside her unit this month.
The 81- year- old stood her ground and yelled at the man, but said she was shaken by the incident.
Kirwan police officer- in- charge acting Senior Sergeant Brenton Webb said police would increase patrols in a bid to protect residents.
AN ELDERLY woman stared down a would- be thief after she busted the man prowling around her retirement village.
The 81- year- old, who only wanted to be known as Margaret, was startled by a noise outside her Kirwan unit about 10pm on July 10.
“I was watching TV and heard a noise so I got up and yelled ‘ is anybody there?’,” she said. “I thought I was imagining things so sat back down but then I saw what looked like a big white rag.
“So I had another look and he was standing by the wall. If the door had been open, he would have been next to me.”
Her story comes as police warn elderly residents to lock up following a spate of burglaries at two Cranbrook retirement villages at the weekend.
Police responded to four attempted break- ins and three burglaries at Brooklea Retirement Village and Cranbrae Village at Cranbrook between Saturday and Monday.
Kirwan officer- in- charge Acting Senior Sergeant Brenton Webb said thieves targeted the communities from about 7- 10pm, stealing wallets, phones and personal items.
“Police have increased their patrols in these areas and we will continue to increase patrols in areas that have been identified as, or projected to be, property crime hot spots,” SenSgt Webb said. “Any property crime is cause for alarm, however for the elderly it increases their insecurity.”
In Margaret’s case, the thief failed to gain entry to her home after she “stared him down”.
She said the man, believed to be in his teens or early 20s, turned to speak to someone behind him but she stood her ground, yelling out that she would call police before activating her personal alarm.
“When he heard the security voice, he took off,” she said.
The retirement village has high fences which are locked at night, and there are security cameras on the grounds.
Margaret said she had been robbed before.
“I am on my own and it does make you feel vulnerable,” she said. “But I stared him out.”
Sen- Sgt Webb urged residents to key- lock screen doors and main doors to deter thieves.
He said in the latest inci- dents, thieves cut a hole in the screen and flicked the latch.
“Brooklea had two burglaries where offenders gained entry and Cranbrae had five incidents but only one was successful,” he said.
“What was pleasing with those five offences ( was that) four were attempts ( attempted break and enters) .
“The residents had taken appropriate security measures preventing offenders from gaining entry.”
Anyone with information should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
LIVING IN FEAR: “Margaret” scared off a wouldbe thief from her retirement village unit over the weekend. Acting Senior Sergeant Brenton Webb ( left) is urging people to lock their doors.