Elderly woman fights off intruder

By Kiri Gillespie

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Papamoa Sergeant Phil Gillbanks want residents to ensure their windiws and doors are secure at night.
Papamoa Sergeant Phil Gillbanks want residents to ensure their windiws and doors are secure at night.

An elderly Tauranga woman fought off an intruder in her home early yesterday morning as police appeal for people to take extra precautions to ensure their safety at night.

The home invasion followed at least two burglaries in Papamoa on Friday night where a burglar rummaged around homes as the occupants slept.

Sergeant Tristan Murray said detectives were investigating the Greerton incident, which happened in the "early hours" of yesterday.

"The aggravated burglary involved an 84-year-old lady who was disturbed by an intruder in her house," he said.

"There was a bit of a struggle."

The offender fled the property. No arrests had been made yet, Mr Murray said.

"So if anyone knows anything about it, if they can give us a call, we'd like to get him."

Mr Murray was unable to say if the woman was hurt. St John ambulance staff said they were not called to treat the woman.

No one from the Tauranga police CIB unit could be reached yesterday.

Tauranga Age Concern chairwoman Angela Scott said she was sorry and concerned to hear of the incident but was impressed with the woman's bravery in confronting her attacker.

"I think older people are very brave and respect their own privacy and their own possessions. The thought of somebody violating that brings out their spirit. I think sometimes these people don't really know who they have taken on," Mrs Scott said.

"Perhaps we've got the old war spirit coming through. A lot of people in their late 70s and 80s have taken it hard at times in their life."

Mrs Scott said she hoped the incident would not scare other elderly in the area. "You can't stay a prisoner in your own home. You have to carry on your ordinary business."

Police were also on the lookout for a thief believed to have broken into at least two Papamoa homes on Friday night as occupants inside slept.

While inside, the thieves stole a briefcase and a handbag. These items were located on the back lawns of the addresses with the contents strewn about.

Papamoa Sergeant Phil Gillbanks appealed to residents to ensure their windows and doors were kept secure at night and "if you are leaving windows or doors ajar at night for ventilation while you sleep, make sure that your open windows are on security stays or doors are latched or bolted".

The offender is believed to have been seen sneaking around in the Santa Monica Drive, Malibu Key and Laguna Key area.

If anyone has information they think can help police, contact the Tauranga station on 07 577 4300 or call anonymously 0800 Crime Stoppers.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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