Week from hell for Eric
By Dean Taylor
Te Awamutu pensioner Eric Flower has just had the kind of week that makes you wonder if things can get any worse.
While the 78-year-old was whitebaiting at Kawhia on Sunday, October 31 a burglar broke into his Park Road fl at and stole his computer.
Mr Flower didn’t return home because the police secured the flat and wanted to take fingerprints.
The officer attending to dust for prints discovered a second burglary, although nothing was taken.
But much worse was to follow. In the early hours of Saturday morning he was burgled for a third time, and this time the offender torched his home.
At 2.00 am on Saturday a passerby noticed flames coming from the front door area of the flat. He alerted the Te Awamutu Fire Brigade and then, with the assistance of another member of the public, woke the occupants of the adjoining flats. Firefighters attended promptly and extinguished the fire before it could spread to the adjoining flats.
Mr Flower was away in Auckland visiting a friend in Middlemore Hospital and delivering whitebait to some mates. He returned home on Sunday to find all his belongings burned.
“I’ve never had a robbery in my damn life and here you get three events in one week. I don’t even have any underwear.”
Police say it is fortunate Mr Flower was away for the night. It was also fortunate that the passerby was able to wake the neighbours to alert them to the danger they were in.
A local resident gave Police a description of a man seen running from the front of the address, along Park Road in the direction of Hazelmere Crescent, at about 1.00am.
Mr Flower is not sure what will happen with his insurance because he had reduced his cover as he was about to move out of the flat to live with his daughter and son-in-law. He is hoping he will be able to salvage some personal effects from the flat, but knows most of his memories have gone up in smoke.
The interior of the residence sustained extensive damage and firefighters say very little of the furniture and personal belongings would be salvageable. Mr Flower is thankful the fire-fighters were able to do as much as they did and is impressed with the Te Awamutu Police who made a speedy arrest the following day.
A 22-year-old Te Awamutu man faces a charge of arson and five of burglary following Police investigations into the offences.
On Sunday morning Police conducted investigations into the burglaries. A search warrant was executed later in the day and the arrest was made and computer equipment and other stolen items were recovered.
Family, friends and neighbours are sickened by the cowardly actions of the offender.