A heartless criminal ransacked a dad-of-two’s locker while he was enjoying a swim with his kids – and left him without even a phone to call the police.
Gone were the car keys – and the car – his wallet (with cash and bank card), phone, and several personal items too.
Regular Kilsyth swimming pool user Richard Habbick discovered the crime when he returned to the locker he has used every weekend.
Now the family want to warn anyone using the pool – or any other public facility – that even places they assumed were perfectly safe can be targeted by predatory, opportunist criminals.
The Saturday trip with boys Maxwell (5), and Jude (2) turned into a nightmare when he found the locker burst open and his bag ransacked.
Mr Habbick said: “It’s a small pool, and I realise the person responsible must have been standing just feet away from me, watching my every move.
“You can imagine it was a bit chaotic with two small children just out the pool, finding literally everything of any value was gone.”
He added: “When I realised the car keys were gone I looked out the window to the small car park, and immediately realised the car was away.”
Later he was warned to phone his bank, and discovered the crook had already tried to rifle his account.
One transaction had gone through and another had failed.
Mr Habbick said: “The bank were great, they are used to dealing with this sort of emergency.
“But while our family aren’t going to let this ruin our Christmas I know I am going to feel angrier tomorrow, while at the moment I’m mainly feeling sad.
“How can someone like that sleep at night, knowing what they’ve done?
“With just over a week to Christmas, what does it feel like to have robbed a family of everything?”
His bleak conclusion is that some people literally don’t care what happens to anyone, or their children.
In one way Mr Habbick was lucky, as by chance his mum and dad were there to see the boys swimming – the first time they had made that outing – and they were able to take them home while Richard contacted the police.
“I’m also lucky I have great kids,” he said.
“They knew something was up, but coped very well.
“But Maxwell’s original scooter was stolen on holiday, and this was the replacement – and it was in the car.”
Mum, Mrs Aileen Habbick, said: “This left my husband at the swimming pool with two young kids, no money, no phone and no car a week before Christmas – disgusting.
“I don’t want to see this happen to another family”.
Now the family aim to do their best to put the nightmare behind them, even although the financial blow could hardly have come at a worse time.
Mr Habbick’s car is a light mint-coloured SAAB 93 estate, registration D509 WUH.
A duty manager at Kilsyth Swimming Pool on Sunday said: “I’m not allowed to say anything about it”, and referred us to North Lanarkshire Leisure.
Tomorrow (Monday, December 19) we will ask NLL whether security at the pool needs to be reviewed.