Just after lunch last Friday, 76-year-old Betty Coleman left her Leonay home for lawn bowls practice.
When she returned later that afternoon, it was obvious that something wasn’t quite right.
“When I turned into my house, the first thing I noticed was a sock in my driveway,” she said.
“I got out of the car because I don’t have a remote control for the garage, and I looked to see if there were any parcels near the front door.
“My blinds looked funny, a bit skew-whiff, so I walked up and the window was open, the screen was on the patio, and I realised someone had broken in.”
She would soon discover that precious and irreplaceable personal items had been stolen from her home.
“When I got in I could see in the hallway that the lights were left on,” she said.
“I don’t know if I even thought that someone could still be in there.”
Mrs Coleman said she walked into her bedroom and it was a mess – the drawers were on the floor and her belongings were everywhere.
It was clear that the house had been ransacked.
“Someone had even gone into the spare rooms and pulled everything out before realising nothing was in there,” Mrs Coleman said.
The same thing happened to Mrs Coleman over 10 years ago, and as she has been widowed for almost 34 years, she is very cautious about keeping her windows and doors locked.
“The thing that really upsets me are the items my husband gave me because he doesn’t exist anymore,” Mrs Coleman said.
“I’m a bit dubious about going out now.”
Mrs Coleman’s daughter, Lee Gray said the family has been devastated.
“They have stolen possibly nothing of monetary value but huge sentimental value,” she said.
“They took her mum’s wedding and engagement rings, my dad’s signet and wedding ring, jewellery that he gave my mum and jewellery from other relatives which is quite old.
“They also stole mum’s gold medals for golf and dad’s ancient Pentax camera.”
Mrs Gray said it would mean a lot to get the items back, but her mother said she won’t hold her breath.