‘Vile’ burglary of 101-year-old woman in bed

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A 101-year-old woman has suffered “an extremely frightening ordeal” in Portadown after a burglar entered her bedroom and stole jewellery and cash while she lay in bed.

The woman was not physically injured but police said the burglar left her in a distressed state. UUP MLA Doug Beattie described the burglary as “particularly vile”.

Her home was one of four Portadown homes targeted from 8pm to 9pm on Sunday, in a series of burglaries which police suspect are linked. The male occupant of another house was left “badly shaken”.

“In one of the burglaries a male entered the bedroom of a woman as she lay in her bed,” police said. “He stole a sum of cash and a quantity of jewellery. The woman was not injured, however she has been left distressed by what can only be described as an extremely frightening ordeal.

Mr Beattie said: “It is absolutely despicable to go into anyone’s house to steal but to go into the home of a vulnerable 101-year-old woman is particularly vile.”

Upper Bann DUP MLA Jonathan Buckley warned homeowners to take precautions. “It is reported that these properties were targeted because they were believed to be unoccupied at the time,” he said.

SDLP MLA Dolores Kelly said it was “a despicable act” which could have had a much worse outcome given the fear which the 101-year-old lady must have experienced.

She added: “I hope that she makes a speedy recovery and feels able to remain in her own home.”

The PSNI said: “In another burglary the male occupant of the house disturbed the intruder. He was not injured, however he has been left badly shaken by his ordeal.

“In the other two burglaries there was no-one in the properties at the time.”

A short time later, police on patrol observed two males fleeing from a white Mitisbishi vehicle in the Lurgan area.

A third male, aged 29, was arrested and remains in police custody.

The properties that were targeted were in Clanbrassil Drive, Clonavon Avenue, Village walk and Ridgeway Park North, with a large sum of cash stolen from one of the latter two.

Police said a description obtained from one of the crime scenes resulted in an arrest a short time later in the Lurgan area, with a 29-year-old Northern Irish male now helping them with enquiries.

Mr Beattie said: “What gives these people the right to make a living out of robbery and terrorising old ladies as they lay in their bed in a place that should have been safe and secure for them.

“I am heartened that the police have arrested one person and I hope that they soon track down the other cretinously individuals before they ruin other people’s lives.

Mr Buckley said: “I would like to commend the swift and direct action of the PSNI in arresting a 29-year-old male in the Lurgan area.”

Police appealed to the two males who fled the Mitisbishi to contact them. Police have asked anyone who saw suspicious activity in the four areas of Portadown to contact them on tel 101.