Elderly targeted in Tamworth 24-hour crime spree

AN 82-year-old East Tamworth woman, one of three elderly victims targeted during a string of break-ins during a 24-hour period, believes her robbers will return.

Dorothy Powitt was at home alone on Wednesday night while an unknown number of thieves ransacked her Angela St home, stealing her wallet and the keys to her Toyota Corolla hatchback.

Leaving through a kitchen window, the thieves then took off in her car, later abandoning the vehicle in West Tamworth in the early hours of the morning after police spotted the stolen car.

Mrs Powitt only found out she had become one of Tamworth’s latest break-in victims when police knocked on her door at 5am the following day to tell her her car had been stolen.

“They went right through my drawers and I was sitting there watching television in the loungeroom,” she said.

“I did get a shock from it and I worry that they’ll be back again.”

Mrs Powitt had a heart attack three weeks ago and needs a walking aid to get around. She said it was horrible to know her home had been invaded.

“I’ve lived here for seven years and never had a problem. I do believe they are targeting elderly people,” she said.

A 95-year-old West Tamworth woman was also the victim of a break-in the same night, thieves making off with a wallet and some of her jewellery while she slept just metres away.

Between 9.30pm on Wednesday and 12.30am yesterday the unknown persons entered the home through a window.

Two rings and a gold wedding band of sentimental value were stolen, which Tamworth police said was extremely distressing to the elderly woman.

Early the same day, about 3.30am, two Hillvue Rd residents described as being in their 70s were at home when thieves entered a front window and stole a wallet and keys to a Camry station wagon.

The vehicle was taken from the residence and later involved in a police pursuit which began just after 4am when police noticed the vehicle’s driver had failed to give way at a Bourne St intersection.

Tamworth police pursued the vehicle for six minutes at speeds of up to 100km/h in 60km/h zones but the driver managed to evade police.

The vehicle was later located in Matheson St, West Tamworth.

Three other break-ins were reported in the same period, with thieves targeting homes in South Tamworth.

A 29-year-old male occupant was woken at 12.25am by a light inside his South Tamworth unit. 

After getting out of bed the man saw a number of persons inside.

He yelled at them and they left through a rear door without stealing anything.

Shortly afterwards at 1am, a 62-year-old woman in a unit on Goonoo Goonoo Rd was woken by an unknown number of intruders in her bedroom.

A mobile phone and amount of cash was stolen from her purse during the incident.

A wallet was also stolen from a Willow St home overnight on Wednesday, where a 33-year-old man was asleep.

Tamworth police Sergeant Josh McKenzie said detectives from the Target Action Group  were investigating the break-ins warned all residents to be more vigilant about their home and vehicle security. 

Sergeant McKenzie said the incidents could be related but was unsure whether the break-ins were the work of one group or a number of groups operating across the Tamworth area.

East Tamworth victim Mrs Powitt said she would be getting extra security locks on her windows and looking into further home security precautions.

Her daughter, who wished to remain unnamed, said she had taken to checking on her mother most nights and locking all the doors and windows.

“I was there until 10.30pm that night. I left in good faith that she was safe – and she wasn’t. It was a real shock,” she said.

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