AN 88-year-old woman was confronted by three young men who demanded money as she lay in her bed after they kicked in the back door of her South Tamworth home.
The Vera St resident, who only wants to be known as Betty, was shaken but unharmed.
The thieves left empty-handed, but ransacked her wardrobe looking for valuables.
The callous and brazen break-in just before 10pm on Tuesday has generated fear in the minds of nearby elderly residents.
Police have labelled the attack as disgusting and despicable.
Brave Betty, who was woken by the noise made by the men as they went through her belongings in the wardrobe, confronted the trio, asking them what they were doing.
“I was too scared to move out of bed. They weren’t here for very long but long enough to be a nuisance,” she said.
“I woke up and they were throwing my clothes out of my wardrobe.
“I said ‘What are you doing?’ and they said ‘Just trying to find something.’
“They went out of the room and came back in and they said ‘Have you got any money?’ and I said ‘No’ and they left,” Betty said yesterday, recounting her ordeal at her modest weatherboard home.
Police said they believe people in the community know who is responsible for the break-in and are disgusted that an 88-year-old woman was targeted.
“Members of the community would know who is responsible for this and are allowing this to occur,” Detective Sergeant John Sommers said.
“There are also people who know their kids are going out and doing the wrong thing – and won’t tell us what they’re doing.”
Detective Sergeant Sommers said police searched the Vera St area yesterday morning and spoke to neighbouring residents, some reporting they heard people running away from the scene.
He said one of the best crime-fighting tools for local officers was community co-operation and information.
“At this point, there’s nothing to indicate that this is a targeted offence.
“If people see suspicious activity or feel like they’re being watched they should notify us straight away,” he said.
“We urge anyone that has information to come forward; they can do this in confidence and speak to any of the detectives. We are always looking for information on crime. They can remain anonymous through us or Crime Stoppers if they wish.”
Looking over her dislodged back door, Betty said she was worried.
“I was quite safe here before and still feel safe but I’ll be a bit worried before bed tonight.”