Lurgan burglars steal jewellery and empty dog's ashes from urn
A woman in Lurgan has been left devastated after thieves ransacked her home and made off with thousands of pounds of jewellery, including necklaces that belonged to her late mother, the day before her birthday.
The burglars even ripped open Christmas presents and emptied an urn containing the ashes of the family's dead dog during the break-in in the town's Magretta Park on Saturday.
The homeowner, a 52-year-old mother-of-two who lives with her husband, told the Belfast Telegraph: "I had gone out with my husband to our daughter's house in Banbridge for a meal. We left the house at about 6pm. We had locked the doors, left the Christmas tree lights on and the lights on in the kitchen.
"We arrived back home at about 10pm to find the back door open. We came into the house and everything was ransacked.
"Every room had been turned upside down. All my good jewellery was taken."
Among the items stolen were the woman's engagement and wedding rings, an eternity ring, a gold necklace bought as a gift for her by her husband, two gold necklaces that belonged to her late mother, two rings from her mother-in-law and a pair of gold diamond earrings that were valued at over £1,000. An emerald and diamond ring - given to her by her daughter as a birthday present that same evening - were also taken.
Unfortunately, none of the were insured.
"They even opened three or four Christmas presents, but because there was nothing valuable they just left them," said the break-in victim, who did not wish to be named. The woman was shocked and even more distressed to discover that the thieves had also emptied an urn containing the ashes of the family's dead pet.
"My dog passed away in November, and I had his wee casket sitting at my bedside," the homeowner said.
"They'd actually taken the dog's ashes out and gone through them. Even the man from the CID was shocked."
Since the burglary, the woman has been unable to sleep or eat properly.
While she was supposed to mark her 52nd birthday on Sunday, she did not have the heart to celebrate following the theft of her treasured possessions.
"How could they do this to anybody... to take precious jewellery that belonged to loved ones who are no longer here and can never be replaced?" she asked
Carla Lockhart, DUP MLA for Upper Bann, offered her sympathies to the woman.
"This is utterly unacceptable and the PSNI needs to increase its resources to tackle this escalating problem," she said.
"I would encourage the public to secure their property and to report anything suspicious, and the PSNI to increase their patrols in the Lurgan, Portadown and Banbridge area."
A PSNI spokesman confirmed that police in Lurgan were investigating reports of burglaries at five addresses in Lurgan, Portadown and Craigavon on Saturday evening, during which items of value were stolen.
Detective Inspector Harvey appealed for anyone with any information about the burglaries to contact detectives at Lurgan Police Station on 101 or through Crimestoppers.