Neighbours shocked as OBE medal taken in spate of Antrim burglaries
Residents of a quiet Co Antrim street have expressed their shock and disgust after burglars made off with an OBE medal after targeting three homes in the area.
Other valuables were also taken when thieves ransacked two properties in Kemmilhill Gardens and a third property on Church Road in Randalstown.
A neighbour who lives yards away from all three properties said she believes the occupants were deliberately targeted.
"They got into the home of an elderly woman who is in hospital; the occupant of another house is an elderly gentleman who is also in hospital," he explained.
"That would make me think that whoever did this is from the area and knew what they were doing."
Another resident branded the burglaries "disgusting" and questioned why anybody would steal an OBE medal.
"What good is an OBE to someone who didn't earn it?" he asked.
"If you don't deserve it then it is completely void of all meaning and value."
It is understood the third property was recently bequeathed to the grandson of the late owner.
It was also vacant at the time of the break-in, which happened between 3pm on Friday and 4.45pm on Saturday.
"The occupant is a young fella and goes out at weekends so he leaves his dogs in his mum's house - whoever did this knew they weren't going to be there to bark," the neighbour added.
A third resident said people have been left "completely baffled" by the theft.
"We're all shocked because this is a quiet area, I don't know why they would choose here of all places," he said.
"I was at home all weekend and was up late watching TV on Friday night and yet I didn't hear a thing." The thieves, who forced their way in through the rear of the properties, fled with items including jewellery, cash and cigarettes.
UUP councillor Roderick Swann condemned the burglaries, which he said were deeply concerning and which he described as an "indictment of society".
"It's worrying that these incidents took place in such close proximity and possibly by someone who had local knowledge," he said.
"The only silver lining is that the residents weren't home at the time, which means they have escaped physical and psychological damage.
"People who do things like this can make other people's lives a misery."
Detective Sergeant Lyttle said the OBE medal is "of great sentimental value" to one of the victims and appealed for the public's assistance with the investigation.
Anyone with information should contact detectives at Antrim Police station on 101 quoting reference 394, 449 or 957 of 10/03/18.