Magherafelt wedding ring robbers ‘should be locked up’

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The four-man gang who pulled a wedding ring off a 83-year-old woman’s finger during an aggravated burglary should “be locked up and the key thrown away”, a DUP MLA has said.

Mid Ulster MLA Ian McCrea spoke out as detectives investigate the incident at the Co Londonderry pensioner’s home on Friday.

The pensioner was alone in her Queens Avenue home in Magherafelt at 7.30pm when four males entered her property.

It happened a short time after her grandson, who lives with her, had gone out.

Two of the males remained with her in the bedroom while the other two ransacked the property stealing a quantity of jewellery.

Ian McGuckin – whose mother Anna was the victim of the burglary – told Belfast Live how the gang said they were “looking for drink and drugs”.

“My mother said that there was nothing like that here. They then asked her was there any money but she said: ‘No, it’s in the bank’,” he said. “At this stage one pushed her and forced her on to the bed, they said: ‘We aren’t going to do you any harm.’ Another boy came in then and started to ransack the room. One held her down while the other took her rings off.”

Mr McCrea called for the public to help identify the gang and branded the incident as “absolutely disgusting”.

“Anyone who was involved in it should be locked up and the key thrown away,” he added.

“I have spoken to a number of people in the local area since it happened who are totally disgusted.

“I would encourage people to make sure they have their homes secure before they head to bed or head away to try to make sure something like this does not happen again.”

Meanwhile, Detective Sergeant David Halliwell who is investigating the incident said: “Any crime in which older people are the victims is despicable but taking a treasured wedding band from the hand of an elderly lady is a particularly loathsome act. We believe the males involved in this incident were aged in their late teens and were wearing knitted hats with scarves around their faces. We understand they made off on foot.”

He appealed for anyone with information about the incident to contact them on 101.