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Too scared to sleep in his own home after a violent invasion that left his young boarders with gunshot pellets embedded in their bodies, a 73-year-old man is seeking the public's help to track down the attackers.
The man has spoken to the Herald about the 45-minute ordeal when three masked attackers entered his Thames home wielding sawn-off shotguns and a knife on Monday night.
The men held guns to the heads of the man and his 19- and 17-year-old boarders and threatened to kill his beloved dogs, ransacked the three-bedroom house and made off with his gold-plated watch, television, lawnmower and bank cards.
"They said if we moved we would have our heads blown off and our dogs would be chopped up like meat," he said. "I can't get my head around it. I am still in shock."
The man was too scared to be identified and broke down in tears while recounting the ordeal, but hoped speaking out would result in his attackers being found.
"I just want to die, I want to die because I can't go through this any more. This is the worst thing I have ever been through in my life."
Police said they did not believe the attack was random, and the 73-year-old said there had been an altercation the week before when a rock was thrown through his front window.
On Monday, the intruders arrived at his home about 7.30pm in a flat-deck ute and the man and his female boarder went to see who had pulled into his driveway.
"I got around the side of the house and the three of them grabbed her and myself and pushed us into the room."
The male boarder arrived home from a fishing trip soon after, and was also held captive.
"They hit me across the face with either their hand or fist or butt of a rifle - I don't know because I was too horrified to open my eyes."
They threatened to kill the man's dogs if he did not tell them his pin number, and threw his 8-year-old fox terrier across the room.
One of the men fired his gun, spraying pellets into the thigh of the male boarder and the shoulder of his girlfriend, and fled soon after.
The young couple ran to a nearby geriatric hospital and raised the alarm for help about 8.20pm. All three were taken to Thames Hospital. They were discharged the next day.
The man said the police spent two days combing the house for fingerprints, so he had only just returned and was now facing a cleanup and the fear of his attackers returning.
The boarders were too scared to return, he said.
Detective Sergeant Martin Hughes said investigations were ongoing and police had "identified a number of persons of interest".
• Contact Thames Police on (07) 858-6200 or anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800-555-111 with any information.