A plucky Limavady pensioner who is partially sighted says brazen thieves who conned their way into her home will have no luck with the cash and jewellery they stole from her.
The brave 83-year-old - too frightened to be named - is well known in Limavady and has been inundated with messages of support since the distraction burglary occurred at her Church Street home on Tuesday.
“It was a shock at the time, and I was annoyed at myself for letting it happen, but I’ll get over it,” the popular pensioner told the ‘Journal’ on Wednesday.
Local councillors have condemned the burglary as “disgusting” and have joined a police appeal for information.
“I hope they’re caught,” said the woman, who explained the ordeal unfolded at around 12.30 on Tuesday. She had just finished lunch when the doorbell rang. Thinking it might be someone she knew and had asked to enquire about a new carpet, she answered.
“There was a fella standing there, ordinary looking and he was wearing what looked like a suit to me. He wasn’t overly tall and had a southern accent,” she recalled. “I kept him talking and he said he was doing construction work on houses and they needed to check the pipe and the water. Then I asked him where he was from and he said ‘Belfast, Antrim around there’.”
The woman continued to grill the man for several minutes more asking which company he represented, or if he was with the council. She said she quizzed him about his accent again, and this time he said he was from Scotland.
“I said to him I never heard a Scottish accent like that and he said he was from outside Glasgow and his accent came out that way!”
Still not satisfied with his replies, the pensioner persisted and kept the man at the doorstep, quizzing him if he’d been with neighbours. When he said he’d been with the man next door, she reluctantly allowed him inside.
Unknown to her, as the man slipped past her into the living room, a second man sneaked behind her and upstairs to her bedroom. As she stood in the kitchen with the man checking the water, she said his phone rang a couple of times. He didn’t say much, other than ‘yes, hmmm’, but it wasn’t until much later she realised he was in her bedroom, snatching seven rings, a bracelet and a sum of cash. While she is upset at what happened, she is especially hurt because one of the rings belonged to her beloved mother and was of great sentimental value.
“How gullible was I?” she asked.
Once the man upstairs had finished ransacking her room, he phoned the man downstairs again and the pair made off down Church Street towards the post office depot.
The woman immediately went next door to the neighbour who the intruder lied about calling with.
“I said to him, ‘what did you make of that boy?’ and he said, ‘what boy?’, and then I knew. I felt weak.”
Police were called and it was only then the woman realised her precious items had been taken.
“I couldn’t believe it,” she said, shaking her head. “The money was savings I had for house insurance and a new carpet and they went to great lengths to get it.”
The woman has been flooded with kind messages and phone calls from people in the town, asking if she is okay. She plays the organ at chapel and is active in the community with a ‘55+ Club’ and is a member of a walking club. She loves the showbands and musicals and just last week was among a busload of fans who enjoyed ‘Starlight Express’ in Derry.
She says the men who stole from her won’t leave her scared in her own home.
“I feel a lot better now,” she said. “If I met the boy I’d ask him, ‘why me’? What did you get from a pensioner like me? It has an affect on you surely, but I’ll get over it. I’m just annoyed because I am aware of these things. I suppose when he came to the door and saw I was partially sighted he knew he’d get me, but no good will come of it for them. I feel a lot better now and I have such great neighbours. I think God sent them to me!”
The woman added: “It used to be you got robbed at night. Now you get robbed during the day!”
(See page 3)