The people of Cork have rallied to help a pensioner whose home was ransacked by burglars.
The raiders made off with some €1,600 in cash which was being saved to install radiators in his house, jewellery his mother inherited, and four commemorative coins which could be worth up to €950 each.
An emotional Pat Kelly, 72, who lives with his niece, Susan, on the southside of Cork City, branded the raiders “scumbags” for taking the cash she had been saving for the radiators, and to buy Christmas panto tickets for her children.
“That she had saved and skimped for the last two years to make the house more comfortable for us — she was hoping to get a radiator and fire fitted. She worked so hard for it,” he told the Neil Prendeville Show on RedFM.
74 yr old carer Pat was robbed yesterday. They took his savings of €1600 and a gold ring belonging to his late mother pic.twitter.com/TKoqdHcicb— Neil Prendeville (@NeilRedFM) September 23, 2015
But within five minutes, listeners touched by his plight had donated €1,600, plumber David Hunter offered to install the radiators and a boiler, and there were offers to install an alarm.
Speaking afterwards, Pat said he was overwhelmed by the offers of help: “The generosity of people in Cork is astounding. I have a great family, friends, and neighbours and never lost my faith in humanity.”
He said he was upset that his home had been violated and he wanted to speak out to warn people, especially the elderly or those living alone, to be vigilant.
“If I had been there at home, they could have knifed me,” he said.
The raiders struck when Pat and Susan were out of the house in Blackrock at around 8pm on Tuesday.
It is believed the raiders were casing the area and scaled a large wall to the rear of the house when they knew it was unoccupied.
They took the cash, a sapphire Victorian-era ring, which was inherited by Pat’s mother for whom he cared, a small safe from his room, and four solid gold and silver commemorative coins which were sent to Pat by an aunt in Australia before she died.
One of the coins was struck to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Sydney Harbour bridge, and another to mark the visit of Pope John Paul II to Australia. They could be worth at least €950 each.
“I didn’t realise they were so valuable. It was more the sentimental value,” Pat said.
One of the raiders walked passed Susan in the driveway of a neighbouring house as she returned home about half an hour later. He was aged between 16 and 19 and fled when Susan said she would call the gardaí.
She said he walked toward a local GAA club and took the licence plates off a waiting car, believed to be a Series 5 BMW, which sped off.
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