SHIRLEY Gladman, 73, could only watch in terror as three men stole her car right in front of her.
Mrs Gladman and her husband of 48 years Fredrick were alerted to the theft when they saw the car's interior light coming on, peeked out the bedroom window and saw three people getting into their car early on March 5.
Feeling ill the previous day, Mrs Gladman had accidentally left keys in the car after returning from the shops.
Worried what could happen if they approached the thieves, the scared elderly couple remained locked in their home and watched in fear as the car was driven away.
"It was in the carport right under my bedroom window and it was the only time I ever left the keys in it.
"We're both pensioners and I was too frightened to go out there," she said.
"I rang emergency services at around 5am."
The stolen car was destroyed in a crash with a truck on the Bruce Hwy at Miriam Vale later that morning.
The maroon Mazda took the Glenwood couple about 18 months to save for.
Living on the pension, the Gladman couple do not have a lot of loose change to spare, leaving them isolated without a car.
"We're restricted out here - our car is the only way to get around," she said.
With a car on loan from their daughter, the Gladmans are relying on help from others to get around.
"It took me ages to save up for it because I'm on the pension," Mrs Gladman said.
"I paid $2000 to buy it and then $400 to service and maintain it and I just finished paying for that."
But the small community has rallied around Mr and Mrs Gladman.
Their neighbour Liss Fenwick has started an online fundraising drive to raise $2000 and buy the Gladman couple a new car.
The only regular contact Ms Fenwick has with her friendly neighbour is when she buys eggs of her a few times each year.
"We don't know her really well at all," she said
Ms Fenwick was spurred to act after Mrs Gladman knocked on the doors of her neighbours to warn of the danger.
"She told us to warn us there were thieves in the area after she had her car stolen," Ms Fenwick said.
"It was so touching and sad she had to have this experience."
Police have charged a 21-year-old man with dangerous operation of a vehicle causing grievous bodily harm, unlawful use of a motor vehicle, stealing and unlicensed driving.
HOW TO HELP
To donate to the fundraising effort visit mycause.com.au/page/120839/a-car-for-shirley.
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