Children as young as eight are terrorising a town in retaliation after an Aboriginal man was shot by police.
Residents in Cowra, in central west New South Wales, are so terrified they are sleeping with weapons next to their beds.
Dennis John ‘DJ’ Doolan was shot by police on September 28, prompting angry members of the Aboriginal community to chant ‘black lives matter’ until elders had to stop them rioting.
The 32-year-old accused thief is still in hospital recovering following the shooting.
Now the town is being terrorised by a mob of mostly Aboriginal children, believed to be as young as eight years old, who are raiding homes to steal jewellery, power tools and electronics, Daily Mail Australia can reveal.
Handwritten notes have been placed in a number of letterboxes threatening people following break-ins across the town.
Diane, who only wanted to be known by her first name, has been targeted twice in the past 18 days.
‘The first time they targeted the shed and took my dog Bonnie–a German shepherd–who they beat up,’ Diane told Daily Mail Australia.
‘The second time they cleaned out the shed of my husband’s tools.
‘They know I am at the house alone–because my husband is in a nursing home, but they do target the vulnerable.’
She now sleeps with a golf club next to her bed, and her dog sleeps inside because she is worried she’ll be hurt again.
A former Cowra youth worker who mentored many of the children accused of the violent break ins noted the incidents have intensified since the shooting.
‘The little ones think the cops can’t touch them because the Aboriginal community will back them,’ the source told Daily Mail Australia.
‘DJ should not be held up as a hero because he is a thug.’
Mr Doolan’s grandmother Olive Williams said ‘karma and getting back [was] the Aboriginal way of dealing with things’.
‘Police have been hounding these kids for a long time so it could be their way of getting back at them,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.
‘It could also be just for fun or that they are slipping into homes of people who have wronged.’
A similar letter was delivered to the local neighbourhood centre where Aboriginal Elders work.
A victim, who did not want to be named, was robbed at 2am on Saturday night.
‘My power was cut so my CCTV cut out, they tried the sheds before they came through the house,’ the victim told Daily Mail Australia.
Motorbikes and power equipment used to be kept in the sheds, but only a drill was stolen.
‘Then they came inside using a torch they looked around the lounge room and stole an Apple TV, iPad, Laptop and three little silver monkey figurines,’ the woman said.
‘The iPad was found on a cricket pitch near the house. It smashed but they also smashed our television.’
Other victims have said they fear someone will hurt the children, now everyone is on edge and sleeping with weapons.
‘I haven’t slept, every noise I hear wakes me up,’ she said.
‘I have two dogs so I feel safe with them there but it is unsettling when they are barking all night, every night,’ she said.
Ms Williams said the way police had treated her grandson ‘made our community angry’.
‘When I saw him in the ambulance I thought he was going to die in front of me. The life had drained out of his face,’ she said.
Ms Williams said Mr Doolan had planned to visit his father’s grave before he was shot.
‘He was in jail when his dad died and it distressed him that he couldn’t go to the funeral,’ she said.
‘And now he won’t be able to see the grave site.’
Ms Williams is concerned that people who are scared do not have enough access to police because the town does not have a 24-hour station.
‘People know if they call the police they will get Orange and it will take hours for anyone to get here,’ she said.
‘After DJ was shot everybody up there was yelling about retribution.
‘They said: “Aw he was a good bloke and police attacked him for no reason.”
‘It was quiet for the first few days but since then there have been break-ins every night, and people have been threatened with knives.
‘One woman who fought back was sliced up the arm and another was cut with a box cutter.
‘I am sorry but police didn’t go after that fellow for no reason and now these kids breaking in to vulnerable people’s homes has us all scared.’
Another woman whose car was ‘showered with rocks’ chased the children.
‘They said, “you can’t touch us” and they ran,’ she said.
The woman, who had two children in the car with her at the time, said she was furious and followed them.
‘I took photos of them and chased after them to try to scare them a bit,’ she said.
‘They kept saying I couldn’t get them and I told them they had messed with the wrong one.’
The woman shared her photos with the newspaper. They appear to show a group of young people in hooded jackets standing next to the highway.
‘Some of the kids in the group are in the same year as my child, so they are 12.
‘One of them I know, and he is eight. Why is he on the street after dark at eight?’
Canobolas Area Command Superintendent Peter Atkins told Daily Mail Australia there had been an upward swing in break and enters in Cowra since late September.
‘There is information the people involved are primarily younger males,’ he said.
Supt Atkins cited three arrests for break and enter offences, two involving 16-year-old boys and one involving a 46-year-old man.
‘We have deployed some sections to Cowra from across the command,’ he said.
Supt Atkins said he hoped the extra police presence would lead to fewer offences in the area.