Violent home raid rocks community

ARMED robbers who terrorised a Barkers Vale household during a violent home invasion on Tuesday threatened to return next month for more cash.

The cruel threat has compounded the victims’ anguish as they struggle to come to terms with the ordeal.

A traumatised Rodger Simpson, 62, who was beaten and pistol-whipped during the robbery, his elderly mother who suffers from dementia, and John Podkowka, 52, were threatened with a machete and held at gun-point by four men who burst into their home demanding cash and drugs.

As there was only a small amount of cash and no drugs on the premises, the armed thugs robbed the trio of their most valuable possessions before escaping about 11.20am in a purple station wagon with a dent in the rear passenger-side door.

Police have appealed for any witnesses who may have seen the vehicle to contact them.

Shocked local residents in the quiet, close-knit community are horrified at the incident and have banded together to support the Simpsons and Mr Podkowka.

Lee Scarlett from the local shop, the Border Ranges Centre, said the community was deeply concerned.

“This is a very peaceful part of the world,” he said.

“It’s a very close community and everyone knows one and other. We’ll be doing everything we can for them.”

Another neighbour who wished to remain anonymous said she felt awful that such a thing had happened.

“It’s such a great community, everyone was so welcoming and supportive,” she said.

Richmond Local Area Command crime manager Detective Inspector Greg Moore said police were concerned about the number of violent crimes lately.

“Fortunately we have been able to initiate proceedings in relation to a number of offences of late,” he said.

“We just want to assure the public that this crime is very out of character with the area and we are confident that with community support we can identify and apprehend those involved.”

Investigating detectives are following a number of lines of inquiry and are awaiting the results of forensic tests.

The four suspects are thought to be Caucasian and are described as 30 to 35 years old, 180 centimetres tall wearing a black, short-sleeved T-shirt and carrying a black handgun; 18 to 22 years old, skinny build, olive complexion, short fair hair, wearing white shorts, no shirt and a balaclava; 16 to 17 years old, short dark hair, white shorts with a skinny build; and 180 centimetres tall, medium build of undetermined age.

Anyone with information should contact Casino detectives on 6662 0099 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Missing swimmer on north coast, search underway

HAZARDOUS SURF: Surf lifesavers are pleading with the public to stay out of the water this weekend after one of the biggest rescue days occurred on Saturday and swimmer is still missing on the north coast.

Hazardous surf warning and one swimmer missing

Ute and truck smash on highway

CRASH RESCUE: At 2am on Sunday the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter was called out to a crash involving a ute colliding with a truck on the Pacific motorway near Brunswick Heads.

Pacific Highway blocked after ute and truck smash

Ferry return to service delayed

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Service will not resume as expected

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