Great-grandmother chases thieves

ANGELA CUMING
Last updated 05:00 07/11/2012
Asta McCracken, 98, unharmed and resting with her son, Clive Parsons
CHRIS HILLOCK/Fairfax NZ
SHOCKED: Asta McCracken, 98, unharmed and resting with her son, Clive Parsons.

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When two teenage boys decided to follow Asta McCracken, 98, home and rob her, they chose the wrong granny to pick on.

When the Morrinsville great-grandmother realised her purse had been swiped from under her arm she said there was only one thing to do.

"I chased after them, that's what I did," she said.

"I was running so fast yelling ‘I've been robbed' at the top of my lungs.

"I kept saying ‘come back, come back'. I ran as fast as my legs would carry me."

Mrs McCracken had just returned from the supermarket to buy some Christmas mince pies about 11am on Tuesday and was unaware she'd been followed up her driveway.

As she tucked her purse under her arm and bent over to collect her mail from the letterbox two youths, both 16, snatched her purse.

She bravely chased after them, and her cries for help alerted a man and woman who were cycling past.

The man, 48, chased after the two youths and tackled one of them to the ground. Police arrived on the scene soon after and nabbed the second culprit thanks to members of the public who dialled 111 and gave police a description of the youth and which direction he ran off.

Sergeant Mark Toomey of Morrinsville police said the theft was "cowardly".

"I think most people would be appalled at an attack on a 98-year-old woman and want to take action."

One youth had given a "full and frank confession" while the other was still being questioned, Mr Toomey said.

Both are scheduled to appear in Morrinsville Youth Court on Friday on theft charges.

Speaking from the Hamilton home of her son, Clive Parsons, and daughter-in-law Margaret yesterday, a plucky Mrs McCracken said she was shocked but uninjured by the robbery.

"I am shocked at the audacity of it, that someone has the audacity to wait until you are bending over to get a letter out of the letter box before grabbing your purse.

"You have no idea how fast it was snatched off me. I didn't even hear anyone following me. I had no idea."

Mrs McCracken said she bore no anger towards the teenagers.

"But I do feel hurt by what happened, that's for certain. It's always been such a lovely safe area to live in."

A few days of rest will now follow for Mrs McCracken at her son's home before she returns to Morrinsville, where she will continue with her hour-long walks each day.

"I've got to keep the pins going because I want to celebrate my 100th birthday," she said.

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"People say I am a tough old chook.

"I can't disappoint them now."

- Waikato Times

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