Two robbers seeking retribution doused a mother and her toddler in petrol and threatened to burn them alive during a horrific home invasion.
The two men kicked down the door of a Kay Street, Kings Meadows, house about 7am on Wednesday.
Both offenders were wearing balaclavas and immediately began questioning a 23-year-old woman about the whereabouts of another two men who they believed were at the house.
Two of the mother’s female friends who were visiting at the time of the home invasion put the two-year-old boy in his cot after the men entered.
The violent offenders assaulted and threatened the mother while trying to find out where the other two men were.
Tasmania Police Acting Detective Inspector John Parker said when the offenders didn’t get the information they wanted, they poured petrol over the mother.
“Then they poured petrol over the back of the two-year-old child and threatened to burn the child in the presence of its mother,” he said.
“The fact that someone has had petrol poured over them and threatened to be burnt alive is a horrific act.”
The traumatic ordeal went on for up to 10 minutes, with the robbers leaving without the information they wanted but with a quantity of cash.
The mother and the toddler were not physically injured, but the woman’s partner took her to the Launceston General Hospital on Wednesday afternoon.
Neighbours on the street described the events as very dramatic and said they felt for the woman and child involved.
One neighbour, Robert Stonjek, told The Examiner police had visited the property three times in the past few months – once for about half a day when they were seen to remove a large number of items.
Mr Stonjek said his sister had heard some noise about 7.30am but was unaware of what had taken place.
“It is a worry, it’s usually a fairly quiet street,” he said.
“They’re doing some sort of renovation there .. during the day there’s plenty of people coming in here taking stuff out – I think it’s builders with trucks and so on. At night time it’s usually fairly quiet.
“They seem to have these big arguments, you hear it spilling out onto the street… it’s usually been two people arguing.”
The two thugs and the men they were inquiring about are known to each other, but Acting Detective Inspector Parker said the woman might not know the intruders.
“We believe that the offenders knew the occupants of the premises and were seeking some retribution from persons who were not there,” he said.
Acting Detective Inspector Parker said it was likely someone saw the wanted men in the area considering the invasion happened in the morning.
Police are unsure if a car was involved at this stage and it is possible the offenders were on foot.
The man who poured the petrol and made most of the demands is believed to be aged between 35 and 45 and is described as average height and a thin build.
The second man is aged between 30 and 40, and wearing dark coloured clothes.
Both men were wearing face coverings.
Police are calling for anyone with CCTV to information about the wanted men to contact them on 131 444, or anonymously call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.