A single mother has told how thieves broke into her house and took most of her possessions when she took her children to see Santa yesterday.
A caller to RTE’s Liveline told Joe Duffy how the thieves defecated in her garden and walked it through the house on their shoes, before stripping the home of the family’s valuables.
Michelle, who lives in Fettercairn in Tallaght, said the gang made three separate attempts to break into her home through the windows and doors with a screwdriver. On the third attempt they were successful.
Michelle believes she knows who the gang of thugs are – a gang of nine to twelve boys and men, aged 15 to 22.
“I brought my three boys to see Santa yesterday and called in to see a friend who’d had an operation on her back,” Michelle told Joe Duffy.
When the family arrived home yesterday evening, Michelle discovered that her teenage son’s iPod, games, sports bag, hairdressing bag, Xbox, and other valuables had been taken.
“They upended my bed; they opened a lock in my bedroom and took my savings that I had for Christmas.”
“Anything that wasn’t nailed down, they took. The wardrobe was cleared. Everything that was in my room, they took it.”
“They even left the screwdriver that they used to get into my home on my bed in my bedroom.”
In a separate incident on the morning of December 1 last year, Michelle was about to take her children to school and when she stepped outside her front door, she discovered that thieves had taken all four wheels of her car during the night.
“The car was on four blocks. No wheels. The wheels were taken.”
“When I first moved [to Fettercairn], they took my car; they fished my car keys out of the letterbox and took the car and that has never been found,” she added.
“I just can’t take it anymore,” she said today.
Michelle, who was audibly distressed this afternoon while telling her story, decided to tell listeners her story so that they would not feel alone if they’ve been in a similar situation.
“I’ve slept on the sofa for the last two years just in case someone would break in and my kids would be sleeping upstairs.”
Michelle believes that she knows the perpetrators of yesterday’s robbery, but she maintains that she cannot confront their parents.
“If I go and speak to the parents, if I was to say something, it’d be ten times worse.”
But she said: “I’ve three boys to look after, I can’t give up, it’s not an option.”
Michelle has been taunted by the gang before, and they threatened to burn out her car.
“I rang Wicklow County Council because I decided I wanted to get out. They said there’s no transfer list. They said I would have to get a mutual transfer. But I wouldn’t transfer someone else into this house.”
“If I could pick this house up and put it somewhere else I would. The house is perfect.”
Michelle’s house has been forensically examined by gardai, and she is being supported by her family and friends.
“My mum and my sister have taken the younger ones out of the house at the moment because I didn’t want them to see me so upset.”
Joe Moonan from “B” at Ease Security in Newcastle in South Dublin has offered to install an alarm system at Michelle’s home.
“All the windows would be sensored. They’d be motion sensored. There’d even be a panic button for her,” Mr Moonan told Joe Duffy.