AGED SCARE

Cow­ardly thieves tar­get el­derly at re­tire­ment vil­lages

Townsville Bulletin - - FRONT PAGE - SA­MAN­THA HEALY

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.

Main pic­ture: SCOTT RAD­FORD- CHISHOLM

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.

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