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DCU calls cops after Ukrainian refugee in their accommodation reports €1,000 missing

Olga Toderova fled Odessa with her husband and two teenage children after the war in Ukraine started

Olga Toderova speaks with Patrick 'Connell

Patrick O'Connell

Dublin City University has called in Gardaí after a Ukrainian refugee staying in their accommodation reported that €1,000 had been stolen from her room.

The 48-year-old mum-of-two was left with just €70 to her name when she returned to her accommodation in the Larkfield apartments in the university on Thursday afternoon - and found her wallet had been emptied of approximately €1,000.

Olga Toderova, who fled Odessa with her husband and two teenage children at the onset of Putin's war in Ukraine, said she was devastated to return to her room on Friday to find that the family's wallet had been emptied.

Bizarrely, the thief who cleaned the family out, in an apparent pang of conscience, left €70 behind for the family to live on until they receive their next social welfare payment.

Olga, speaking with the aid of an interpreter, told the Sunday World: "I left my room at 9am and came back at 3pm and then I discovered that money from my purse had disappeared. It (the wallet) was in my suitcase."

Olga Toderova

Olga said she was unsure of the exact amount of money that had been taken from the wallet but believes it to be around €1,000.

"I still have the receipt for the maintenance (social welfare) payment I had received from the post office the day before and the children's allowance, as well as money we had saved.

"I don't know the exact figure but it was roughly €1,000."

Asked how much money the family had remaining to them, Olga said they had just €70 in cash.

"It's strange but whoever took the money left €70 behind them in the wallet."

Olga said after discovering the theft: "I went to the reception and they scanned my room door and discovered that it was opened during the day.

"At the reception, the manager sent me to the police station. But there, the officer told me that he couldn't help me because I didn't have the interpreter and the way out was to call 999."

Olga said she spoke with a manager at the campus residence again on Friday morning and campus staff were liaising with Gardaí - who were due to speak with Olga at the college on Friday evening.

Dublin City University

"One of the manager's gave me a gift card from Lidl so we can buy groceries for the week," she said.

Olga's friend Tatianna, who was translating for her, said since learning of the theft from Olga, other refugees in the accommodation have begun going through their own possessions to check whether they, too, may have been targeted.

"We are not poor people," Tatianna said.

"When people fled Ukraine, they took possessions like their jewellery and money with them. So, people are very worried if they feel their accommodation is not secure.

"We just hope the person who did this is caught and Olga and her family's money is given back to them."

Contacted by the Sunday World, a spokesperson for DCU told us: "I understand that this is the subject of an investigation by the Gardaí. As such, the university will not be commenting."

DCU is one of a large number of universities and colleges to have provided catering and accommodation services for Ukrainians fleeing the war in their home country.

The university made available a total of 380 beds between May 16 and August 7.

Some 130 beds were made available on St Patrick's campus and 250 beds on the Glasnevin campus.

This move was aimed at temporarily relieving pressures on accommodation at a national level.

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