By Selma Milovanovic
January 18, 2006
AFTER a burglar broke into caricaturist Bill "Weg" Green's Heathmont home on Sunday, it took the 82-year-old just seconds to draw his attacker.
Fifteen minutes later, patrolling police caught a suspect — and Mr Green's drawing proved they had the right man.
Mr Green, who has built his career drawing caricatures of football stars, said he rushed outside when he heard the thief swearing loudly as he tore through his backyard about 10am.
"I heard this awful cursing and swearing. It was the foulest language I ever heard," Mr Green said yesterday.
"He tried to brush me aside, him being much bigger than me. I thought if I got into a fight, I'd lose my dressing gown and I'd end up starkers."
After he pushed Mr Green away, the intruder stole his grandson's bicycle, despite its two flat tyres, and fled.
Police soon arrived and were initially reluctant when Mr Green offered to draw the burglar.
"We were mainly concerned with catching the offender who was still in the area," said Senior Constable Aaron Roche of Ringwood police.
"I thought (the drawing) might be a stick figure or something like that."
Seconds later, Mr Green — who still works daily drawing private, AFL and other corporate caricatures, as well as running a gallery — provided a detailed drawing of the burglar's face.
"It was amazing, the likeness was just fantastic," Senior Constable Roche said.
Fifteen minutes later, Croydon police picked up the burglar for an unrelated crime.
"After we had a look at this gentleman in the back of the divvy van, we just couldn't believe how much of a likeness it was to the picture that Weg had drawn," Senior Constable Roche said. "If anyone ever says 'can I draw the offender', I'll be handing them a pencil pretty quickly."
Mr Green said he did not expect police to catch the thief so quickly but that his ability to remember faces in detail helped. "I have an affinity for faces and I can remember faces even hours after," he said.
The burglar, who allegedly committed criminal damage elsewhere before intruding on Mr Green, was arrested at a nearby shop.
He will be charged on summons with burglary, theft, unlawful assault and criminal damage.