Elderly couple locked in basement after robbery

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Police lights (Photo: Politie). Police lights (Photo: Politie)

An elderly couple were locked into the basement when robbers forced their way into their home in Susteren during the early hours of Monday morning. Zischa Vergooszen (77) managed to open the wooden cellar door by hacking at it for hours with a small knife, while her husband Gerard (82) lay seriously injured on the floor. Their family offered a reward of 5 thousand euros for the tip that leads to the robbers' arrest, 1Limburg reports.

Four robbers came into the home on Oude Rijksweg Noord through the back door at around 3:30 a.m. on Monday. They forced Zischa into the living room. Gerard came in and tried to hit one of the perpetrators. He was assaulted by all four robbers for his efforts. 

"They first handcuffed granny with a telephone cable and then directed her down the cellar stairs, but grandpa was literally thrown into the cellar, because he kept resisting. The blood is still on the walls", the couple's grandson, also named Gerard, said to 1Limburg. "If my grandmother did not have such a sense of survival, it could have turned out very differently. Then perhaps they would have been locked up in the basement for days and it is questionable whether they would have survived."

Gerard sustained a broken eye socket, jaw and ribs .He also has no feeling in his left arm and leg since the incident, possibly as a result of a stroke he had during the struggle. He'll be in hospital for another week at least, according to the grandson.

The family has been working for two days to clean up the completely messed-up house. "For the time being, we are not letting grandma go home yet .She is scared and I want to spare her the chaos here in the house. We'll first clean the house", the grandson said. 

The robbers said they were looking for money and the safe. "But there is none of that here", according to grandson Gerard. "They really searched everything: furniture was cut open, paintings were pulled off the wall, searched in the chimney, and turned all cupboards upside down. As far as we know, they left with a few hundred euros in cash. It is too bizarre for words. That you steal money is up to you. But stay away from children, the disabled and the elderly."

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