THE theft of his prized possession, his car, was the last straw for Mark Pettener – he’s leaving behind the suburban area he now says is nothing more than Tamworth’s crime suburb.
When Mark Pettener’s car was stolen by what he suspects was a group of young thieves from his Coledale home last Friday night, it was the third time he had been the victim of crime in the area in the past few months.
Mr Pettener received quite a shock when police called to inform him it was his car they had just been pursuing around several Tamworth streets that night.
He said he had been asleep when the thieves broke into his home and took the keys.
“I felt violated and sick to the stomach to think they’d stolen it,” Mr Pettener said.
He hadn’t been alerted to the theft until police arrived at his home.
“They (the police) did a great job and followed the car so closely,” he said.
The car was found abandoned shortly after at the Coledale brickworks, an area south of the suburb, known by police as a dumping site for stolen vehicles.
The cars are usually found totally burnt out and destroyed but Mr Pettener said he was one of the lucky people to receive his vehicle back intact, with some minor damage.
When The Leader spoke to Mr Pettener this week, fingerprint dust from detectives’ forensic investigations was still present on his recovered car along with visual signs of the thieves’ damage: a smashed rear window, a ripped-out glovebox and torn seats.
It’s not the first time he has been targeted by criminals and Mr Pettener said this theft was the last straw.
He is now seeking to move from his Cossa St home, appealing to any local landlord that will take him, his dog and his cat.
“You keep to yourself and mind your own business but these things keep happening,” he said.
About a month ago, his neighbour’s new puppy escaped their backyard and wandered into the street before a gang of youths set upon the dog, kicking it repeatedly.
“I came out of my home and called them low-lives but then one came at me with a knife and threatened to stab me,” he said.
Mr Pettener was punched before the youths fled and just weeks later, his home was broken into.
“They kicked in the front door and only took my phone and a lighter ... they did it to intimidate me,” he said.
Mr Pettener said the area had become particularly bad over the past couple of years, and soon, more people would start moving away.
“I hate that they’ll think they won but who knows what they’ll do next,” he said.