Callous thieves caught
STOLEN: The youths stole $500 of donations from Isobel’s collection tin. cont
THE grandmother of three-year-old Isobel Lister, who suffers from cerebral palsy, has expressed her disbelief that thieves could steal $500 of donations raised by the Gemfields community towards life-changing treatment for her “beautiful little girl”.
Isobel’s family has been working hard over the past year to raise funds for stem cell treatment in Germany that could give her better quality of life.
Collection tins were given to businesses across Queensland including the Anakie Hotel, and it was the customers from the bottleshop on Rubyvale-Sapphire Road who raised almost $500 before the business was broken into on November 10.
Three teenage males helped themselves to $25,000 worth of spirits, pre-mixes and beer before stumbling upon Isobel’s donation tin.
Captured on CCTV, the trio is filmed picking up and examining the pink tin with Isobel’s photo and story on it.
Seemingly unruffled, they empty the tin and take the contents.
“They were in there for two hours and they cleaned us out. It is very clear on CCTV that they have picked up the charity collection tin with close to $500 in it,” said Anakie Hotel and bottleshop owner Robyn George.
“They read what’s on the tin, so they were fully aware of what it was for and they’ve stolen it.”
Isobel’s grandmother Wendy Rayner was speechless when she heard what happened.
“That’s awful…that’s absolutely terrible,” she said, on the verge of tears.
“People like the owners of the bottle shop have been really good in helping out. That these teenagers could do something like that is really upsetting.”
The Emerald teens, aged 16, 17 and 18, were charged with break and enter. The 16-year-old pleaded guilty at Emerald in juvenile court on November 26, with the 17 and 18-year-olds to go before the court on December 8.
“These kids have driven all the way from Emerald to the Gemfields to steal off us and off the wider community,” said Ms George.
“They should know better. It’s a really low act that in a small community like ours, with a very low income for most people who are predominantly pensioners anyway, who have pitched in this money to help someone else out, and these kids look at it and steal it.
“I just want the wider community to know they are low enough to break into a small family-owned business and steal off a sick little girl. It’s just wrong.”
Mrs Rayner said the news came as a blow to the whole family, which had been celebrating noticeable improvements to Isobel’s condition following her first stem cell treatment in October.
“We were told the effects of the operation would take six months to show but already we have noticed a few changes. Isobel’s eye focus is better, she’s sitting up better and she’s using her hands more,” she said.
“She’s saying ‘dad’ now, so her dad Jason is really happy about that. She was only able to say ‘mum’ before.”
The Listers are working hard to raise funds for Isobel to return for a second treatment in January.
“Everything is so expensive. The treatment costs $8000, airfares cost $8000 each time and then there’s accommodation,” said Mrs Rayner.
“We have just bought Isobel a walker for $4000 and we’re raising money towards a specially made wheelchair.”
But Isobel’s attitude is a constant inspiration, said Mrs Rayner.
“Isobel has been through so much, but she’s so brave, she still just smiles all the time.”
Follow Isobel’s story at www.friendsofisobel.com.