Crime spree leaves couple in fear
By MELANIE PETRINEC
POLICE plan to saturate a Rockhampton crime hotspot with patrols after heartless thieves hit disabled couple Chris and Julie Short for the second time in days.
The Shorts were recovering from having their car vandalised and CD player stolen on the weekend when thieves ransacked their West Street house on Tuesday night.
The break-and-enter followed the brutal home invasion of 84-year-old Vivian Fehlaber in the same street on Monday night. Mrs Short is now living in fear in her own home.
"I'm just too petrified to go to sleep,'' the distraught woman said.
"I just don't know what to do anymore.
"We've got nothing.''
The offenders entered their house between 10 and 11pm.
The couple were in their bedroom, about to go to sleep, when Mr Short got up to lock the front and back doors.
It was then he noticed they had been hit for the second time in five days.
The heartless criminals took a DVD player, CDs and Mr Short's wallet.
It was the theft of the wallet, which contained $200, that left the couple most distressed.
"I've heard of kicking people when they're down, but this is ridiculous,'' Mr Short said.
"We'd only just got the last of our money out from the bank to go grocery shopping.
"Now we don't have five cents to rub together.''
Acting Senior Sergeant Mark Ireland said police would target the area for extra patrols.
"We try and intercept people who loiter around particular areas where trouble is being experienced,'' he said.
"It is basically intelligence gathering.''
Sergeant Ireland said he did not think West Street was any worse than any other areas, although he was not surprised about the apparent crime spree in the street.
"Nothing really surprises me anymore, but it is unusual,'' he said.
"It is very unfortunate these people have been targeted a few times.
"I have no doubt it would be the same group of offenders.''
The concerned Sergeant said a reason for the recent spate of crime could be the fact the street is heading towards the CBD itself, and unfortunately that is where offenders seem to congregate.
Sergeant Ireland said it was important for Rockhampton residents to secure their houses.
"It is pertinent for residents to secure their premises, whether they are at home, or if they have gone out,'' he said.
A resident in West Street, wanting only to be identified as Julie, admitted it was a rough part of town.
"We have not personally been concerned, however what is concerning is the fact that it seems to be elderly and disabled people being targeted,'' she said.
Police are appealing for anyone with information relating to any of the three incidents to contact Rockhampton police on 4932 1500 or Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.