An elderly man thought he was losing his marbles when he noticed money was slowly disappearing from his safe, only to realise his beer-buddy was robbing him.
Retiree John Rennie, 79, said he feels uneasy in his Cairns, Queensland, home after catching his neighbour and ‘mate’ Phuvither Singh Taak, 47, stealing from his safe on a hidden secret camera.
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His confusion reached the point where he one day asked his daughter, ‘Am I losing it?’.
He decided to take action and placed hidden cameras around his home, determined to get to the bottom of the money mystery.
The next time his money went missing – just before Christmas – he was able to check the footage and finally catch the culprit: his friend of six years, Taak.
Taak had offered Mr Rennie some neighbourly help all those years ago and they’d been friends ever since.
The pair would often have a beer together on Friday afternoons.
But then Mr Rennie was confronted by the truth: he’d been tricked.
Taak was sentenced in the Cairns Magistrates Court last week to nine months imprisonment after pleading guilty to three counts of entering a premises with intent and one count of burglary.
However his sentence was suspended for 12 months, so if Taak follows his conditions for 12 months he will never serve a day behind bars.
Mr Rennie said the sentence meant Taak effectively wasn’t going to be punished.
‘He has not been affected in any way, really,’ he said.
Taak was also ordered to pay Mr Rennie $200 compensation, but the retiree said it doesn’t make up for feeling unsafe in his own home.
‘Home is where you’re meant to feel safe. It’s an invasion of privacy,’ he said.