May 20, 2004
Norwich Evening News
A disabled gran today told of her torment after thieves targeted her for the third time in a year.
Multiple Sclerosis sufferer Jeanine Cooper, 64, was asleep in her city home when burglars broke in and stole a ring bought by her late husband, a computer and cash.
The intruders even had the gall to make themselves some sandwiches before they fled Mrs Cooper's home, off Dereham Road.
Mrs Cooper said: "My husband died last year and the last present he bought me was a diamond and emerald ring, which they took.
"I am so angry and bemused that they could come into my home and do this, but I will not let them beat me.
"I do feel vulnerable, but I am not going to let them win. If I get scared then I lose and they win."
She added: "They have also taken my computer and this is my lifeline to the outside world.
"I am so lost without it. I am in a wheelchair and I do all my shopping on it.
"If nothing else I would just ask them to bring the computer back to me, it will be useless to them because it needs work done to it and the only place who can do it will see it is registered to me."
The burglars struck on Monday night after Mrs Cooper, who is on strong tablets for her illness, went to bed at about 9pm. When she woke she was greeted with a devastating scene.
She added: "They threw everything all over the floor and pulled out all the drawers. They even took food out of my freezer and fridge.
"When I looked I realised they had obviously made themselves a roll with my sliced meat and eaten my strawberries.
"I just could not believe it.
"They took all my cigarettes and lighters as well and believe me this was one time when I really needed one."
The thieves may have stolen her computer, but they left most of the software, rendering the computer little more than useless.
Mrs Cooper was also targeted about a year ago when thieves broke in and stole money off her.
Then, in December, she was the victim of another crime when a man knocked on her door claiming he was about to be beaten up.
"He came in and knocked the brake off my wheelchair before pushing me backwards.
"He told me he was being chased and they were going to beat him up.
"Luckily I had my alarm buzzer around my neck, so I pressed it and he soon ran out of the door."
Speaking about the latest break-in, Mrs Cooper said: "My eyes are bad and I think I may not have closed the latch on the kitchen window properly.
"Well they will not be able to do that again because my carer and I have decided to start screwing the windows down.
"More than anything I would just like my computer back so I can start getting my life back."
Detective Inspector Nick Day, who heads Norwich CID's target crime unit, said: "We are aware of the three incidents this lady has suffered. In fact a man is now serving an eight-year prison sentence for the December crime. We are currently targeting this particular area of Norwich with crime prevention measures and advice. In relation to the latest burglary I would appeal for the public to help us catch and lock up these heartless and selfish criminals."
The man jailed was Martin Stewart, from Edinburgh.
Contact Norwich police on (01953) 424242, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
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