A Derry mother says she’s been sickened after thieves broke into her house, stole her car keys, and crashed her car before setting it alight near a local school.
Leona O’Neill was at home with her husband on Monday night when the thieves entered the house in the Buncrana Road area and stole the car keys without them knowing.
“The car was still there at 12.30am when we went to bed,” she said. “We had heard the dog make an aggressive noise earlier, but thought nothing of it.”
However when Mrs O’Neill left the house the next morning to take her son to school - she found the car was gone. She later discovered it was stolen, rammed into the gates of St Columb’s College and set alight.
The mother of four said it was bad enough that the car had been stolen and completely destroyed, but all of her university lecture notes, her coursework and items belonging to her daughter which were in the back seat have been lost.
“The whole thing has been very unsettling,” she said. “The fact that someone would have the audacity to come in to your house and do this.
“This is a very quiet area. When something like this happens it wakens you up a bit. I’ve been speaking to SDLP councillor Brian Tierney who told me that he had been meeting with police about the upsurge in this type of crime. It’s sickening to think that whoever did this would have looked in the car and seen the car seats. They would have known that it is a car that is used by a family.”
Mrs O’Neill said that as a student she would find it extremely difficult to replace the car which had once belonged to her late father.
“Here I am trying to better myself and make a better life for my family and this happens. I am now going to be without a car for a few weeks. I am only thankful that no one was hurt. The people who did this don’t realise the damage they are doing. They probably thought it was a bit of craic but don’t realise the impact it has.