A dirty way to do your dough at the races

DAVID Swain thought he knew all the pitfalls to hanging on to your hard-earned dollars during a day at the races.

But a thief using an old-style method that almost cost him his wallet at this month’s Wodonga Cup meeting.

He didn’t think much of the jostling he felt in the betting ring until he sat down and his wallet, containing a few hundred dollars, fell to the ground.

Someone had slashed the pocket of his shorts in a brazen attempt to steal his wallet.

Mr Swain said the Velcro top of his shorts’ pocket had prevented it falling out earlier.

The grandfather said he was unnerved by the almost dead-straight slash in his shorts.

“I was just shocked,” Mr Swain said yesterday.

“I couldn’t believe someone would do that — that they could be so game.

“I’ve always carried my wallet in my back pocket, but not any more,”

Mr Swain’s wife, Joan, said she felt sick that something like that could happen at a family race day with her grandchildren present.

“If they did it the wrong way, they could have cut him,” she said.

“He could have been in hospital having stitches.”

Mrs Swain said the would-be thief must have used the tactic before to cut the shorts in such a straight line.

She felt her husband would not have been the only person targeted.

The couple did not report the incident to police.

Mrs Swain said she told a race club official on the day but he told her he didn’t want to scare anyone when she suggested he should warn patrons.

Race club manager Tom O’Connor said the club had not issued a warning because there was no proof of what had happened and only one incident had been reported.

“We thought the best way to deal with the matter on the day was to place a security guard where the incident was alleged to have occurred,” Mr O’Connor said.

The couple said they believed the track needed increased security — including CCTV cameras — but Mr O’Connor said there were no plans for either unless there was an increase in crime at the track.

“In my time, we haven’t had any other incidents of thefts or unruly behaviour,” he said.

Detective Acting Sgt Ian Deverell, of Wodonga, said police had no similar reports and, as the offence was very rare, police had no concerns.

“It’s an old offence — that sort of thing happened years ago,” he said.

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