Elaine Lamont was one of the 30-odd hero “nannies” who helped fight off two masked bingo thieves at Gisborne Pirates Rugby Club on July 23, 2021. Supplied photo
A group of Gisborne “hero nannies” sprang into action wielding chairs, handbags and kicking over tables to fight off two wannabe thieves who tried to rob them of $700 during their bingo night.
About 30 women – the oldest of whom was 87 – were playing Housie just after 8pm on Friday at the Gisborne Pirates Rugby Club when two thieves in balaclavas draped in black burst into their game.
The Herald spoke to the 67-year-old “hero nanny” who inspired the defence of her and her friend’s $700 prize pouch, after she flipped over her table in front of one fleeing thief.
“We were sitting there playing Housie – if you look at Pirates clubrooms they’ve got a side door and they had to go past the table I’m sitting at to go to where the money is,” the 67-year-old said.
“I’m playing and I’m thinking who’s this idiot running past me and I thought ‘oh hey he’s grabbing the money’.
“The lady running the Housie she’s trying to fight him to get the money back and he turned around to run back to the door and I thought to myself ‘bugger this’.
“That’s when I bloody shoved the table I was sitting at right in front of him and he flipped over.
“He fell down on the ground. A couple of the nannies on the other side were hitting him with their bags. It wasn’t until he ran off and the pouch of money was still there.”
The 67-year-old describes the two young thieves as “clowns” who were clothed in army beanies, orange balaclavas, black track pants and brown hunting hoodies.
Elaine Lamont was dealing the Housie cards on Friday night and said the two young thieves weren’t armed.
“They said nothing, he came in and ran across the room to where my table was, tried to grab the containers we had our money in,” Lamont said.
“We had a scuffle with him trying to pull the containers backwards and forwards with him but I was determined he wasn’t going to take the money.”
Lamont said once the running thief was stripped of the prize pouch, the other nannies began throwing plastic chairs at the second man in the doorway.
“So he had plastic chairs thrown at him so no one was going to let him get away with taking our Housie money,” Lamont said.
“They got away with nothing. The police were notified after they ran away. Once they got out the door about three or four elderly ladies tried to chase him outside – it was pouring with rain. The police had the dogs out but I don’t think they have been caught yet.”
Unfortunately, one lady was struck in the face during the fracas resulting in a bleeding nose.
Both nannies the Herald spoke to said the Gisborne Pirates Rugby Club weekly Housie night has been robbed before – and the thieves were successful that time.
The 67-year-old “hero nanny” said she thought “oh no not again” when she realised what was happening.
She said she was feeling “quite shaken up”,
spending yesterday with a friend also involved in the attempted theft.
The 67-year-old said the Housie night and the community it fosters was an integral part of the nannies’ week.
“It’s our outing for some of the nannies, they enjoy it. Oh you buggers, why come and rob the nannies? You’re spoiling the nannies fun,” she said.
“We don’t have a big crowd but that’s what us nannies like doing, bingo. It’s something to do and then they come and rob it. God.”
Gisborne Pirates Rugby Club President Jenny Akurangi said amazingly the nannies returned to their game once the police and their dogs had departed off searching for the thieves.
Akurangi said the nanny with the bleeding nose was “telling the ambulance ‘it’s alright I’m still good to play Housie’.”
“They were giggling about it, I think that might have been the highlight of their night,” Akurangi said.
Police confirmed they were informed of a robbery at the rugby club on Friday at 8.15pm.
An investigation was underway in relation to the matter.
When asked if she would be back playing Housie next week, the 67-year-old nanny said: “Oh yes, I like my Housie.”
She also said the rugby club would be arranging for some of the Gisborne Pirates players to be there as security.
Lamont also offered a stern message to the wannabe thieves.
“We were all a wee bit rattled but after a while we got back into Housie again,” Lamont said.
“You are pretty gutless if you have to rob a bunch of old ladies on their one night out. We kept what we had and no one was hurt so don’t mess with us.”