Sleeping family 'violated' after house raided by teens
THREE juvenile thieves have turned a week of celebration into a nightmare for Jade Dean and her children.
While the Roma mum and her four children slept through the late night raid on their Elmer St home, three teenagers stole priceless items, car keys, and $200 cash to be used for son Zach's upcoming 18th birthday.
It is believed the thieves entered through the kitchen window on Monday evening, before they made their way past the bedrooms of Ms Dean's children before enterring her room to begin their raid.
"I went to bed around 9.30pm and was woken up by one of my girls coming into bed at 1am," Ms Dean said.
"I had to go to the bathroom and noticed the curtain at the front of the house was open and thought that was weird,.
"I then found the back door wide open, which freaked me out... I woke up the kids and asked them if any of them had opened it and none had.
"I then found the girls' iPads out the back, they're very battered so clearly whoever came decided they weren't worth taking."
Ms Dean said the offenders took a wallet from the house, keys to her car and her purse.
"They had taken every- thing out of my car but I found my car keys," she said.
"I think I was pretty lucky they didn't take much else - a few houses around here were hit."
"They took money I had taken out to use for my son's 18th.
"One thing they did take was these two notes (totalling) $15 out my wallet - the last thing I have that were touched by my son who passed away in 2010.
The robbery has sent shockwaves through the family, and Ms Dean urged other Roma families to be cautious of burglars.
"How dare these kids break into my house - how dare they walk past my sleeping children, come into our rooms," she said.
"They came in while we were asleep and nobody realised.
"And to leave the door wide open... what if one of my girls had woken up and gone outside?
"There's a reason why I lock doors, to keep people out and keep my little people in."
The culprits responsible for the spate of break-and- enters in Roma have been charged but are unlikely to face significant punishment in the court system.
Senior Sergeant Duane Frank said two of the three teenagers behind the string of robberies were juveniles.
"Earlier this week, a number of houses in Queen St, Crawford St, Harm St, Mullavey St and Elmer St were broken into," Sen-Sgt Frank said.
"Police charged an 18-year-old Charleville man with five counts of burglary and one count unlawful use of a motor vehicle, after he entered a house, locating vehicle keys and stealing that car. It has since been located by police in town.
"He has been arrested and charged and will appear at Charleville Magistrates Court on August 27.
"A 15-year-old male was charged with two counts of burglary and one unlawful use of a motor vehicle. He has been dealt with under the provisions of the Youth Justice Act.
"A 17-year-old male was also involved, he's been charged with one count of burglary relating to one of the residences in Elmer St and has also been dealt with under the Youth Justice Act."
Police reminded residents to take all safety precautions, including locking windows and doors and securing cars.
"There have been a number of incidents where offenders have entered or broken into homes to search for keys and steal vehicles," Sen-Sgt Frank said.
"People need to come up with their own plans to keep their keys out of view.
"We have wayward youth in our communities who are prepared and willing to show a lack of respect.
"We urge residents to do as much as they can to keep their homes and cars safe."
Sen-Sgt Frank said a large amount of the stolen property from this week's spate had been recovered.
"A number of other offenders have been charged for other offences," he said.