BRAZEN day-time thieves used ‘distraction techniques’ to rob a considerable amount of money from an established hardware store in Castlederg on Saturday, it has been claimed.
The TyroneHerald believes Eveline Crawford, who has worked in S Gailey & Co on Castlederg’s Main Street for almost 50 years, was in the shop on her own at the time at the time of the incident, when she was approached by two men who began occupying her with questions about toasters and screws.
While this conversation was ongoing, Ms Crawford recalls witnessing a third man suspiciously wandering around the rear of the shop.
Eveline, who is a native of Ardstraw, was shocked and saddened to learn that a ‘considerable amount’ of money had been stolen from the store’s safe which was also located at the back of the Castlederg premises.
Local footballer Andrew Crawford, Eveline’s son, says he is hopeful that the local police will bring whoever is responsible for the theft to account.
“I was away playing football with my local team when the robbery happened,” he recalled. “My mum, who is an elderly lady, was in the shop at the time.
“She recalls two people in the shop coming in and distracting her and keeping her occupied, while another fellow was around the back of the shop.
“One of them was small, while the other was large and she believes one spoke with an accent that wasn’t local.
“They told her they were looking about toasters and asked her a number of questions about different types of screws.
“The next day, she realised that a large amount of money had been taken from the safe and reported the theft to the police.”
Describing his mother as ‘hard-working’, ‘well-known’ and ‘someone who tries to keep everyone happy in the shop’, Andrew added, “There are some bad people about, and what happened to my mum wasn’t nice.
“However it could have been a lot worse and we are just so thankful that she wasn’t hurt.
“That is the most important thing as the money can be replaced, but she can’t be.
“Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and we’re now going to take measures to ensure that this doesn’t happen ever again.”