Shattered by theft
By FRAZER PEARCE ? IT WAS only a $50 transistor radio but its theft by a brazen thief has shattered a 74-year-old woman's peace of mind and her faith in the community.
The thief struck at Marie James' property in Vallis Street, North Rockhampton, about 1.30pm on Thursday while she was out for an hour shopping for dog food with her german shepherd Sasha.
She had been gardening and left her radio sitting on her front steps.
Just a few months ago somone stole a mattock from her yard.
It was the first time in 50 years at the property that anything had been stolen and the two incidents have come as a huge shock to her.
She said she should be able to leave property in her yard during the day without the fear of it being stolen.
"It's an intrusion,'' an angry Mrs James said at her house yesterday.
"If I catch someone stealing, I will break their fingers.''
She said her four sons were also very upset at what appears to be an opportunistic crime by someone passing by.
She has not reported the crime to police in the hope the thief will return the radio.
"I wanted to give them a chance,'' she said.
She believes petty theft is a stepping stone to more serious crime but said the courts were not tough enough on people who stole property.
"I think they get off too lightly,'' she said.
She said there should be more police patrols in residential areas as a deterrent to criminals.
Rockhampton City Inspector Graham Coleman said police targeted crime hotspots but could only do so on information from the public.
He said if there had been several thefts in the same street and no-one was reporting the crimes then police could not take action to arrest or prevent more theft.
"We assess crime patterns and allocate our resources accordingly,'' he said.
"It's intelligence driven and if three or four people in the same street have had property stolen and are thinking the same (as Mrs James) then we would never know.