Thieves target Sebastopol pensioner

Sebastopol pensioner John Odgers. Picture: Daniel Hartley-Allen DESTROYED: Leading Senior Constable Craig Hocking examines the burnt scooter with its owner, John Odgers, yesterday. Picture: Daniel Hartley-Allen
Nanjing Night Net

A DEVASTATED Sebastopol pensioner yesterday said thieves who stole and torched his motorised scooter overnight Wednesday robbed him of the thing he valued most _ his independence.Just three months after he lost his partner of 35 years, Ballarat identity Joyce Quiddington, John Odgers, 75, yesterday morning awoke to find his only mode of transport missing from his garage.”I couldn’t believe it. I walked around the streets looking for it, I thought some kids might have pushed it around the corner,” he said.Upon reporting the theft to police, however, Mr Odgers, who has been waiting 18 months for knee-replacement surgery, was informed it had been found just two blocks away, gutted by flames.”It was gut wrenching, I just sat down and I cried. I just want to know why. Why did they have to burn it? It just don’t make sense.”Mr Odgers purchased the scooter for $1000 two months ago and spent another $500 on new tyres.”I used to be able to walk to Albert St to catch a bus but I can’t walk any more,” he said.”Once I got it, I had wheels at last. I felt as though I was independent again, I could do things for myself without having to ask the neighbours or Joyce’s kids to help me. I’ve got about $2000 left in my bank account, I’m going to have to use that to buy another one.”Mr Odgers has even offered a $500 reward for information leading to the culprits.Blind in one eye and with his vision rapidly diminishing in the other, he had been saving the money for a much-needed pair of new glasses but said he would prefer to see it used to catch the thieves.”I want to go to court and tell the magistrate to think about what sentence to give them because I just can’t understand it,” he said.Mr Odgers was adamant he would not accept donations to help him with the purchase of a replacement scooter, but by yesterday afternoon had been offered a secondhand model from the Sebastopol business he bought the original from.He urged anyone wishing to help him out to donate instead to the 3BA Christmas Appeal.Ballarat Criminal Investigations Unit Detective Senior Constable Garth Morris said a resident reported the blaze about 1.30am yesterday and said police would like to hear from anyone who might have seen the scooter in the Sebastopol area around that time to phone police on 5336 6080.

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