Police investigate home raid
POLICE are investigating a bizarre raid on an Ipswich couple's house which was carried out while they were both seriously ill in hospital.
Don and Patricia Stewart, both aged in their 60s, had nearly everything they owned stolen or destroyed by the heartless thieves, who are thought to have spent several days rifling through the couple's 40-acre property at Mt Hallen, near Esk.
Mystified and devastated by the crime, which also involved the poisoning killing of both their pet dogs, Mr and Mrs Stewart said they were now trying to work out exactly what happened and why.
“It may have been a stroke of luck that we were both unwell and not at the house, because we believe these people may have killed us,” Mr Stewart said.
The husband and wife of 17 years ended up in hospital at the same time after Mrs Stewart broke her shoulder in a fall and Mr Stewart had a chronic nose bleed in which he lost two litres of blood.
They were both admitted to Ipswich Hospital and the theft was not discovered until Mr Stewart's daughter went to the property to pick up a car about a month ago.
The couple had been preparing to move out of their house and had much of their property packed up in cardboard boxes.
The contents of the boxes was strewn about the house, while larger items like furniture and whitegoods were simply loaded onto a vehicle and taken away.
A gun safe – which Mr Stewart said did not contain firearms but did contain other valuables – was robbed, expensive tools taken from a tool shed and bed mattresses cut open.
“What they didn't want to steal, they vandalised,” he said.
“They ripped the bathroom apart trying to find something – they even took the fittings.
Mrs Stewart's engagement and wedding rings – worth more than $15,000 – were stolen.
She'd left her rings in a safe place at home because she was worried they might be stolen from her while she was in hospital.
Mr Stewart said the thieves also took his father's World War II medals – which he said held enormous sentimental value.
“At least we've still got each other,” he said.
The couple has moved to alternative accommodation while they wait for police to investigate the crime and for their insurance to come through.