THIEVES not only stole possessions from a Morwell couple’s home, they almost robbed a man of his life.
When Don, whose surname is being withheld, and his wife returned from a four-day trip to Bairnsdale they discovered their home had been looted.
Thieves had broken a padbolt to access the garage and procured a jimmy to pry open a triple lock security door.
The house was left in shambles, drawers and their contents strewn throughout, and jewellery and items had been stolen, but the real kick in the teeth was yet to come.
Don is a diabetic who requires insulin four times a day to survive.
For whatever reason, Don said the intruders had cranked up the settings on the fridge which contained about three months supply of insulin, freezing the prescription medication.
Luckily Don had a couple of days’ worth of medication on hand but will be forced to fork out a substantial amount to replenish his supply.
He said it came as insult to injury.
“It’s bad enough to lose things but when your life is potentially threatened… It’s someone’s life; they are playing with someone’s life,” Don said.
“Your actions have more effect than what you think.
“I’m just fed up with them.”
Don said police investigated but could not find any fingerprints in the house, including those of its occupants, indicating the thieves had “wiped the place clean”.
It was not the first time the Morwell resident had been targeted.
Don said he had been the victim of another break and enter at a different Morwell address, had thieves attempt to dismantle his boat and had been robbed while waiting for a taxi.
The spate of incidents has prompted Don to take matters into his own hands, with plans to manufacture his own 1920s style wrought iron security door.
He advised people to lock up as best they can to protect their properties, a message echoed by Latrobe Police Acting Inspector Jason Helps.
Act Insp Helps advised residents to be vigilant with residential burglaries up about 28 per cent this year to date.
He said theft from private properties was on the rise while there had been a decline in other burglaries, namely from commercial properties, which are down 21 per cent.
“Residential burglaries are up but our commercial ones are down, so the pattern of offending has slightly changed,” Act Insp Helps said.
“The key message around that is for people to lock their houses, look at their security arrangements, make sure their neighbours are keeping their eye on their place when they’re not there.
“It’s a crime that makes people uneasy, so it’s certainly our priority to address that crime and we’ve got our active offender taskforce dedicated to apprehending those offenders and we’re getting some good results.”
Act Insp Helps said aggravated burglaries were down 13 per cent from an already low base.
“A very small percentage are when people are home or that aggravated type burglary so that’s a good thing,” he said.
Along with theft from vehicle, residential burglary is Latrobe Police’s current priority.
Anyone who witnesses suspicious activity is encouraged to phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or file a confidential report online at www.crimestoppers.com.au