Family targeted as they slept by thieves who make off with cars, phones

HORRIFIED: Temica O'Neill in front of the door two thieves broke open before stealing two phones, a wallet and the keys to two cars. Photo: MAX STAINKAMPH.

HORRIFIED: Temica O'Neill in front of the door two thieves broke open before stealing two phones, a wallet and the keys to two cars. Photo: MAX STAINKAMPH.

A mother of three says she was “horrified” to discover thieves had broken into her North Orange home and stolen a number of person items as well as two cars parked in the driveway. 

On January 28 people broke in to Temica O’Neill’s house while she and her two young children were in bed and her teenage son and a family friend were asleep in the living room.

The lock on front door was forced open, and thieves made their way around the sleeping bodies to take a phone off its charger, cars keys off a cabinet and a second phone and a wallet from the living room.

They then damaged the garage and the letter box while driving away from the house.

No one heard the intruders and only discovered what had been taken when they woke up the next morning. 

“We were like ‘what, what’s going on?’, so I rang the police and they said we’ll put out a job and then about five minutes later I realised everything had been taken,” she said. 

“They’re in my personal space, near my children.

“You don’t know what they’re capable of doing.

“They might be on drugs, you don’t know what state of mind they’re in. “

The break-in also impacted her children, including her six-year-old daughter. 

“She didn’t want to come home. She stayed at my sister’s for a couple of days and she was having nightmares,” she said.

“That’s the thing that pissed me off the most, that when they do these things they don’t think about the consequences for families.”

According to Miss O’Neill the courts needed to hand out tougher penalties to offenders. 

That’s the thing that pissed me off the most, that when they do these things they don’t think about the consequences for families.

Temica O'Neill

“They’ll say ‘he’s had a hard upbringing’ or ‘he’s on drugs, so we’ll slap him on the wrist and send him back out’,” she said. 

Miss O’Neill said she was “Orange born and bred” and crime had always been a problem here. 

“It’ll never change,” she said. 

“I used to live in East Orange and it was always a problem over there around the showgrounds as well.”

Both of Miss O’Neil’s cars were eventually found; one around the corner having run out of petrol while the other was recovered – badly damaged – on Glenroi Oval. 

Miss O’Neill said after putting up a Facebook post she had been flooded with messages from people living near her who had been the victims of similar crimes. 

“One guy said he caught a guy in his back yard, one woman noticed her back windows were damaged from someone trying to get in,” she said. 

To add to her complications, Miss O’Neill is recovering from a hip replacement, and has had other health issues while trying to bounce back from the intrusion. 

“It’s hard, as a single mother of three, it’s really hard,” she said. 

“The stress levels of having to repair and replace after having a major operation and losing immediate family is so hard.

“These people that commit the crimes don’t think of any of that.”

Canobolas Local Area Command Acting Inspector Mick White said one of the stolen cars was recovered on January 30 and was towed by police. 

Acting Inspector White said two people of interest were spoken to about the case when they were arrested on unrelated matters on January 31. 

“At this stage investigations are still ongoing and [we are] waiting for forensic examinations before anything goes any further,” he said. 

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