Thieves steal wheel dream

Brian, 78, standing where the car was stolen from. 188478_05 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

By Kyra Gillespie

An elderly couple are using their story to warn others after they fell victim to a brazen theft.

Pakenham residents Brian and Maureen Degering had their beloved car stolen from their Eagle Drive home on Saturday 1 December.

The car, a 31-year-old Nissan Pintara which they call their “lifeline”, was pushed out of the driveway around 4am.

“I hardly ever leave the car in the driveway – it’s normally away in the garage – but we had a doctor’s appointment in the morning so I decided to leave it out overnight,” owner Brian explained.

“Early the next morning, around 4am, I heard the car alarm go off. I thought it was just a cat jumping on the roof – that happens from time to time – so I’ve switched it off and gone back to bed. Then the alarm went off again.

“Next thing I hear the car start, and I looked out the door and it was gone. They would have had to push it out of our driveway because we are on a hill. And it’s not an easy push; there must have been three or four of them to manage it.”

Brian is 78 and his wife Maureen, who is very ill, is 84. The couple relied on the car to get to and from medical appointments.

They had also just spent over $2000 putting brand new tyres on the car.

“We’re both pensioners and we’re struggling. My wife has been very sick in hospital for the last four to five months and that car was our lifeline.”

Police located the car at an address in Dandenong on the night of Sunday 2 December.

“They drilled the lock to start it; they’re not idiots, they knew what they were doing. The entire console was drilled out, the dash was ripped apart and they took the GPS and remote for our garage.

“The only thing we could recover from the car was my wife’s walker and the dog food that was in the boot. It was heartbreaking to see.”

The embattled couple want to use their story as a warning to others.

“We wish to warn other people: beware, keep your cars under lock and key.

“We don’t need charity and we’re not looking for help, we just want to help other people – they need to know they have to be on alert.”

Brian believes the incident points to a bigger problem in the community.

“We need to know what’s happening in this area; it’s getting very nasty. We’ve been in Eagle Drive for 25 years and this is the first time we’ve had any problems.

“We’ve always called it a wonderful neighbourhood, but now we’re feeling very disheartened.”

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