THIEVES broke into cars attending the wake of a former Cookstown councillor’s husband.
It happened last week as mourners attended The Loup home of former SDLP councillor Mary Baker, whose husband, Emmett, had just passed away.
The sickening attack saw a number of items stolen, including handbags, from the cars of those paying their last respects to the popular, well known man.
The thefts are the latest in a spate of attacks on cars attending church or cemeteries in Cookstown District area.
Worshipers attending mass in Ardboe have previously been targeted and just last month thugs smashed the windows of two cars sat outside the funeral service of a Moneymore man.
SDLP councillors Deirdre Mayo and Christine McFlynn have called for increased vigilance following a spat of thefts locally. Councillor McFlynn added “At times like these families don’t need the added burden of visitors’ cars being broken into and handbags stolen.
“In the run-up to Christmas, incidents like this will, unfortunately, become more prevalent, and we would urge everyone to be vigilant.”
Ardboe representative Deirdre Mayo added: “We would urge people, and in particular women, to be more aware of items being left in cars. We have been contacted about robberies of handbags from cars at graveyards and church car-parks.
“If these items are on display, then they make easy pickings for thieves.”
Councillor Mayo continued: “All items of value, such as handbags, purses, mobile phones, should be left out of sight, preferably locked in the boot of the car, even if you are only leaving the car for a short time.
“A thief will take advantage of any opportunity,” said councillor Mayo.
At last week’s full council meeting, Cookstown representatives held a moment’s silence in memory of the well known Loup man.
Paying tribute to his colleague’s husband this week, Cookstown council chair man Tony Quinn said: “Emmett was a real gentleman and was very well known around the area.
“He regularly attended events with Mary and was well thought of by everyone who knew him, and highly respected.”