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Olga (80) speaks of home raid terror

By Paul Ainsworth

A SOUTH Belfast pensioner who lost thousands of pounds in a burglary at her home has warned her neighbours to stay alert otherwise they could become victims too. The Benmore Walk flat of 84-year old Olga Montgomery was targeted in the early hours of last Wednesday morning, with a total of £7,000 cash and “irreplaceable” family jewellery stolen by the heartless thieves.

Police have appealed for information about the incident, which has left the OAP “terrified” in her own home. Olga told the South Belfast News that she believes she disturbed the burglars as they raided her living room, before making off with her life savings as well as  jewellery belonging to her mother that she has cherished for decades. Her car keys were also stolen – but not her car – forcing Olga to pay for a replacement lock, and leaving her afraid the thieves will return for the vehicle.

The intruders entered the flat through a side door on the ground floor leading directly into her living room. A neighbour who returned home later that night said he noticed the door slightly ajar and the light on, but thought nothing of it.

“When I came down the stairs from my bedroom the following morning I knew something was wrong as the living room door was open, when it shouldn’t be,” she said.

“In the room they had gone  through all the drawers and I knew that there was a sum of money I had kept there for several years, as I didn’t want to lose it during the banking crisis. However, it was taken, and it was all the money I owned.

“However, the real hurt is losing my mother’s jewellery, including her rings. They aren’t even worth much to someone who has stolen them in trying to sell them on, but to me they were all I have left of my mother, and are irreplaceable.

“During the previous night I had woken to go to the bathroom, and I believe I may have disturbed the burglars, perhaps forcing them to leave before they came upstairs to see what they could get.

“As I’m hard of hearing I didn’t notice anything from below, but I’m terrified at the thought of them being in here and that they could have come up to my bedroom.”

The break-in is the first such incident experienced by Olga after almost 40 years living in the Finaghy complex, and she warned other local pensioners to be on the alert.

“The real hurt is losing my mother’s jewellery. They aren’t even worth much to someone who has stolen them in trying to sell them on, but to me they were all I have left of my mother, and are irreplaceable.”

“There was no forced entry and in the weeks leading up to this I’d noticed that a side gate outside the flat had been opened during the night several times. They must have been keeping an eye on this place for a while before breaking in, and I’d be worried they’ll do it again in other properties.

“It’s also costing me several hundred pounds to replace the lock on my car, and I’m concerned they’ll come back to try and take it, or get in here again. I only use the car to go to the local shop, and now I can’t even do that. You would need to be sub-human to target a pensioner living alone like me, but I thank God I didn’t meet them face-to-face, as I have no doubt if they could break into my flat, they wouldn’t be afraid to cause me harm.”

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