Census Workers Drop In On House Robbery

What's it like to be a census worker? Unlike postal workers who can drop off the mail and flee, the world's emissaries of the decennial survey are forced to interact with their respondents. And when dealing with a country's entire population, problems are bound to emerge.

Such was the case in Australia, when two census collectors came knocking Thursday at a house in Boonah, located southwest of Brisbane.

But at the very moment the census collectors were arriving at the house, an occupant was being robbed.

As the Australian news website news.com.au reports, a 55-year old woman living on Boonah's Mt. French Road noticed a car pull into her driveway at around 11:15 a.m. Returning to her house from the backyard, she was confronted by the two robbers, who proceeded to take her to her bedroom and tie her up with zip ties and rope. One of the assailants was carrying a firearm.

At around that time, the census workers arrived, seeking to collect forms. They were given similar treatment and were left tied-up the bedroom.

"The whole ordeal lasted about 40 minutes," Ipswich Detective Inspector Mick Niland told the Queensland Times. "Another one of the homeowners, the woman's husband, came home shortly before 12 p.m., to see the offenders departing the scene," he said.

The Queensland Times report also noted that many of the details, including identities, were yet to be confirmed as the investigation has just begun. The police would not confirm whether the two additional hostages were, in fact, census workers, although all local press accounts reported them to be. No major injuries occurred, and the robbers only managed to steal two sets of car keys and two cellular phones.

This tale is only the latest story of census workers caught in the middle.

There's the memorable case of one U.S. Census worker who allegedly was a perpetrator -- a southern Indiana man who, police say, returned to a house in May 2010 that he had visited four days earlier with Census forms. Daniel Miller's purported motive? To rape a disabled woman who was living at the house with her mother.

Speaking to local media about the incident, a member of the community who had interacted with Miller said the following: "He just seemed really nice," said Debbie Bishop. "Actually, he was overly friendly."

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