A former green beret commando who was willing to put his life on the line for Australia had his motorbike stolen from a Sebastopol retirement village as Ballarat's break-in scourge surges.
David Dew, 72, awoke on January 21 to find his distinct Triumph Bonneville had vanished from Sovereign Gardens’ secure car park that backs onto Spencer Street.
The theft has dealt a major blow to Mr Dew as the bike was his only mode of transport.
His bicycle was also stolen in a previous break-in and hoods had smashed-in the Triumph’s windscreen before it was taken.
The spate of brazen burglaries has left Sovereign Gardens residents fearing for their safety, where a woman who lived next door to Mr Dew asked to be moved to a different room away from the Spencer Street gate should another break-in occur.
But Mr Dew has gone public with his story to underline worrying crime trends afflicting our city.
He hoped people would keep an eye out for the green and gold Triumph, whether it was on the streets or if it pops up for sale online.
“I’ve had a rough trot lately,” Mr Dew said.
"It's not about the money, a motorbike has meaning to a rider.
"It's not going to be easy to replace, I'm a pensioner."
Mr Dew thinks the thieves jumped over a fence and then wheeled the Triumph through a gate.
In response, Sovereign Gardens’ management installed latticework around the gate’s security system.
The theft of Mr Dew’s bike comes as the latest crime data revealed Ballarat ranks among the worst in the state for aggravated burglaries.
There were 70 more break-ins in 2016 compared to 2015.
Mr Dew, who served in the special forces as a specialist diver and paratrooper for the Australian Army Reserve in the 1960s, said tougher penalties needed to be introduced to deter crime.
“I’m a little bit disgruntled with the lack of penalties dished out to these guys, many are recidivists,” he said.
“Court-appointed barristers insist they are ‘excellent prospects for rehabilitation’, well they must be, because they’ve done it about 25 times. So they probably get used to be an ‘excellent prospect’.”
If you have any information about the Triumph or the January break-in, please call Ballarat police on 5336 6000.