TOUGH TIMES: Cara and Peter Bartlett's are devastated after thieves stole their car from their Lammermoor home on Saturday afternoon.
TOUGH TIMES: Cara and Peter Bartlett's are devastated after thieves stole their car from their Lammermoor home on Saturday afternoon.

Another devastating blow for terminally ill man

TOUGH TIMES are something Peter and Cara Bartlett are all too familiar with.

Following a battle with brain cancer, Mr Bartlett and his family were delivered tragic news which would throw them into a devastating reality no one wanted to face.

The beloved faculty member at St. Brendan’s College was told his brain cancer was terminal, and that sadly surgeons had been unable to remove all the cancer during what was a marathon surgery.

While used to facing hardship, the family remained stoic in the face of adversity – even taking means to prepare their family financially should the worst occur.

What followed was seven months of upheaval, selling and downsizing their house, one of their cars, even adjusting to restricted finances after Mr Bartlett was told he could no longer work.

It seemed as though the financial and emotional stress were starting to ease, Mrs Bartlett said, and that the couple finally had their “ducks in a row.”

But sadly, after last weekend, the devastating cancer diagnosis became only of many tragedies to the family of four now faced.

Last Saturday, as the family sat in their living room, one of their vehicles was stolen from their driveway in a brazen daylight robbery.

The family had moved in only two weeks earlier before they would become victims in what Mr Bartlett described as a targeted attack.

Witnesses said two males arrived at the Lammermoor address around 4pm, driving a white utility vehicle, before one approached Mr and Mrs Bartlett’s home.

“I heard the Mazda go and I flew out to check. I just saw it taking off and a ute following behind it. I looked like a bit of teamwork.”

The garage door was left open while Mrs Bartlett napped only metres away. It is understood the suspect first tried to steal the family’s Nissan Kluger before trying their luck with the Mazda.

Unfortunately, their son Caleb had by accident left his backpack in the car which contained the vehicles sensory key.

The 2015 model operates on a keyless ignition – a push start button – activated when the key is located within a certain distance of the vehicle.

At times visibly emotional, the couple spoke of the added stress the robbery bought them.

“We’re trying to make all our money last because Pete can’t work anymore. We suddenly felt like we were getting our plans together for the future, because it’s sadly not a long and bright one ahead of us.”

“This is just another blow. We’ve worked so hard and for someone to come along and take something for their own needs. We’re devastated,” Mrs Bartlett said.

The Mazda 2 was soon to become their son’s as a mean of independence as the family prepared for the worst. In an added blow, their insurance company will not cover costs due to the keys being left in the vehicle.

Mrs Bartlett believes the alleged thieves had planned the robbery after seeing the car was listed for sale on Facebook’s online Marketplace.

The couple reminded the sites’s users to exercise caution when dealing with strangers looking to purchase goods.

“It’s certainly a steep learning curve for us all, do not post your address on social media or in direct messages, and if you have someone interest in buying something meet at a mutual place.”

Following the theft, the couple posted the news to local crimewatch groups where various residents reported seeing the vehicle throughout Rockhampton.

Mrs Bartlett thanked local police and the community for their support in, although their hopes for a positive outcome were fading.

“Last we heard something was yesterday morning. Police said it could turn up either abandoned, sold or burned out somewhere.”

“If they’re going to find them it’s normally within the first 24 hours, it’s been 48 hours now.”

It is understood the alleged thief is known to police and was last spotted in Rockhampton. Anyone with information should contact Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.