Michelle Hansen, local food cart owner and Aldinga Ave resident was left reeling after she busted a would-be thief mid-burgle at her home. Photo: Sinead Ogilvie.

Woman shocked by thief


A would-be thief was sprung in the middle of a home invasion last week when the home owner caught him in the act.

Arriving at her Aldinga Ave home in the middle of the day, Michelle Hansen was shocked to find she’d busted someone mid-burglary. “I came home unexpectedly at about 10.30am. As I came down the driveway I popped the garage door open and I saw something move through the back glass door of the garage.”

Unsure if it was a cat or a person, Michelle yelled out to see who it was and came face-to-face with a complete stranger.

“I just screamed out ‘who’s there?’ ‘what are you doing on my property?’ And next thing this six foot Maori or Polynesian guy is coming towards me covering his head with his hood.”

As the intruder headed off down the driveway Michelle says he said he’d got the wrong house.

“I ran after him and said ‘I work bloody hard for what I’ve got, you should get yourself a job’ but he just kept on running. He must have thought I was pretty crazy to chase him.”

For Michelle it was a worst case scenario after her teenage daughter was paid a visit by someone just weeks before, during the school holidays. She believes the same man knocked on the door of her home but was scared off once he realised someone – Michelle’s daughter – was home. “I think he had staked the house out the first time around and came back to break in.”

As the owner of a central city food cart, Michelle says she feels like she may have been targeted.

“People know who we are and they know where we live. I do think maybe he’s seen us somewhere, followed us home. I think they think there’s cash here or something they can steal and sell for cash but there’s nothing.”

Michelle says she’d like the man who broke into her home to know there was no point and that he wouldn’t have found anything worth stealing. “We don’t have any valuables in the house, we live fairly simply, we aren’t wealthy people. But we work bloody hard for what we’ve got.”

Police say they haven’t found the intruder yet but are still following lines of inquiry and the case remains open.

Michelle says the thing that makes her most angry about the situation is that “people think they can come and help themselves to what other people are working for. “I haven’t had more than ten days off in a row in nearly five years. And here’s somebody that is sitting on their arse and just wants to come round here and help themselves.”

Michelle says she will have an alarm system installed this week and recommends that others do the same. “It really annoys me to have to go to that length because we are only renting. But there are a lot more people moving into Nelson from outside of the region. I do understand that people are struggling,  but there are always things you can do to improve your own life. Other people are struggling too and we are all just trying to make ends meet.”