A Wauchope woman is heartbroken after thieves broke into her home on Christmas Eve and stole all her jewellery and her father’s OAM medal.
Dr Keith Beck, who died aged 90 in July 2017, was posthumously awarded the medal of the Order Of Australia for his lifetime of community and professional work.
His daughter Denise, who is a nurse at Port Macquarie private hospital and a volunteer firefighter, had just flown to America for a holiday with her daughter, Katie who lives in Sydney. She got a call from her son, David, at 2am to say that her home had been burgled on Christmas Eve. They cut short their trip and flew home.
As well as her father’s precious medal, the thieves had stolen all the jewellery belonging to Denise, her late mother and grandmother.
The haul included her father’s 21st birthday watch, which he was given by his father. It bears the inscription: ‘To Keith, on your 21st birthday, love Pop, 23rd January 1949.’ It has a gold case and brown leather strap.
They also stole Denise’s grandmother’s engagement, wedding and eternity rings, a gold and diamond necklace with matching bracelet, a gold ring with a pink diamond, 50 Pandora charms and bracelets and watches.
“I cannot believe they took my Dad’s OAM,” said Denise, bursting into tears.
“It took a lot of work to get the OAM for him, and it took him a whole 60 years of blood, sweat and tears in his life. What would they want with it? It has his name on it.”
Denise says the thieves are the lowest of the low.
“For those awful people to take something so emotionally important to our family, and over Christmas, when people are trying to be Christian, is despicable.
“I had this place locked up like Fort Knox, and they broke in through a very small window,” she said.
The intruders went through every room in the house, including the bedrooms where her grown-up children sleep when they visit. They ransacked cupboards and drawers and Denise says she feels violated.
“Someone I don’t know has entered my little piece of heaven and security. They were gutless. They did it at night,” she said.
Her cat, Tilly, was there at the time, and has been so traumatised since the burglary that she isn’t eating. Denise says the police have been wonderful. She is urging everyone to be vigilant.
“If you’re going away, don’t put anything about it on Facebook,” she said.
And she is pleading publicly with the thieves to return her father’s OAM medal.
“I don’t care if they come and put it in my postbox. I don’t want to know who they are. I just want it back,” she said.
Anyone with information about the robbery should ring Wauchope police station on 6585 1404 or use the confidential crime stoppers number on 1800 333 000 or go to www.nsw.crimestoppers.com.au