FEELINGS of violation and loss can haunt victims of break-in and theft but they may be just part of the agony. Add 'guilt' to the mix and the victim, rather than the criminal, receives the severe punishment. Such is the case for an Ormiston woman, who admits she has difficulty 'moving on' months after a theft from her home. She blames herself for not ensuring the security of the stolen property, which belongs to her mother. The suffering is compounded by a dark secret: "Mum still doesn't know." For this reason, the woman declined to be identified. We'll call her "Vicky" – short for 'victim'.
RACKED by torment, Vicky recently placed a Public Notice in the slim hope she might recover some items that she says "held great sentimental value". Tears seemed to run through her 10-line notice, which began with "Can you help?" and told of her desperation after the discovery in December that nine plastic storage tubs were missing. The sad saga began in July when Vicky and her husband helped her mother move into a nursing home. The couple stacked the tubs in a covered area behind their home. "I thought my husband had moved them, maybe into the garage, and he thought I had done it," she says. "Before Christmas, I looked for a handmade fabric nativity scene that my mother treasured – that's when I realised the tubs were missing."
THE police were sympathetic but unable to offer hope of recovering the property with so little information after so long, Vicky says. "I can't really say what was in the bins because I don't know," she says. She has been touring secondhand shops in hope of seeing something familiar. She can remember only the nativity scene, hand-embroidered tablecloths, a porcelain dinner set with floral motifs, craft magazines and knitting patterns. Luckily, she had taken some items including photographs inside her house; the 50-litre tubs with coloured plastic handles contained many "bits and pieces".
VICKY says her home has a high fence with a gate and a lot of trees and shrubs, making "a very private area". She believes the intruder(s) would have needed a utility or truck. A construction project was under way in the street at the time. "If only I had known straight away," she says. The theft was the first such incident that Vicky and her husband have suffered during their 25 years at the one address. Today, during her daily visit to her mother, Vicky again will carry the weight of her secret, fearing the revelation would break another heart.
This column has appeared in The Redland Times.
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