THEFT: Handel Hughes, 90, wants the thief to be caught.
THEFT: Handel Hughes, 90, wants the thief to be caught. Jasmine Minhas

Teen robs 90-year-old man of electric bike

ON HIS way back from his routine trip to the local shopping centre, 90-year-old Handel Hughes was unaware he was being followed by a thief.

The elderly man, who has problems with his legs, was riding his newly purchased electric bike which allowed him to travel independently with more ease.

Mr Hughes was stopped at the Bray St traffic lights in Coffs Harbour when a young teenage boy approached him.

"I'd been down town when a boy came up to me and asked 'is that an electric bike?' I said 'yes' and went on my way," Mr Hughes said.

"I came back to the house, laid down and started reading a book.

"Then I thought I should go put the bike away, but when I got to my backyard it was gone - in the middle of the day."

Mr Hughes reported the crime to police and described the boy as appearing to be about 14 years old.

A neighbour of Mr Hughes, Karla Bee, took to social media for help following the news.

"We have reported it to police but would like the community to please help," she wrote.

"He is such a lovely kind man who can't afford much.

"He lives with very little, battling through every day, and now worries what else he could have stolen from him."

The theft also unfortunately coincides with the long time Coffs Harbour resident's 91st birthday this week.

The war veteran moved to Australia from Germany in the 1950s, and around 17 years ago he settled in Coffs Harbour.

He was a mechanical fitter turned nurse, and it was his tragic battle with cancer and the death of his mother that saw him settle in Coffs Harbour to be near his daughter.

"I've nearly died, after an operation I'd lost so much blood the doctors couldn't find a pulse, but I haven't heard them singing yet," Mr Hughes said with a laugh.

The bike was stolen from his home on Grant Cl in Coffs Harbour around 2pm on Monday, August 21.

The bike is a TEBCO model The Explorer, worth more than $2000.



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