Hastings woman terrified after bag snatch

By Sam Hurley

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A 75-year old victim of a brazen bag snatch has been barricading her Hastings home at night, worried her offender will visit.

The woman, who asked not to be named, said she "can't sleep easy at night" knowing her house keys and the details of her address were in her handbag that was stolen while riding her mobility scooter along Queen Street West in central Hastings on the morning of March 25.

"I had only just got my mobility scooter, it was only the second time I had taken it that far into town," she said.

The Welsh native who has been living in Hastings for nearly 40 years sensed someone was following her before the mugging.

"He came riding up on a bike looked at me straight in the eyes and then down at my handbag that was sitting in the basket.

"As I turned around the next corner he was waiting for me."

She described the offender as being confident and young and believed more police should be on the beat to deter this form of street crime after her friend had also been victimised recently outside the Hastings Public Library.

The woman's story comes as police yesterday released crime statistics for 2012, which showed there had been a sharp drop in the number of burglaries and other reported crime in Hawke's Bay.

However, in response to the bag snatch Senior Constable Brad Clark said the youth crime team took preventative measures to reduce the risk and number of offences.

"We are targeting this form of crime with more foot patrols, especially during the school holiday breaks," he said.

"The fear of looking over your shoulder and seeing a policeman could be enough to stop some people."

He said that people should not live in fear but that they should also not make it obvious they are carrying a purse, wallet or handbag. The determined senior had a message for her thief and fellow Hawke's Bay residents.

"They [offenders] should think about their nanna, how would they feel if it was their nanna who had been attacked," she said.

"I will not be a victim, nor should you.

"Fight Back! Reclaim our streets!"

- Hawkes Bay Today

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