WHILE YOU WERE SHOPPING ...

A LAVINGTON grandmother said she felt sick to her stomach after thieves stole more than $20,000 worth of family heirlooms and antique jewellery from her Springdale Heights home yesterday.

Lorraine Hutchings and her husband returned from a one-hour shopping trip about midday to find their Privett Place home had been ransacked.

Thieves tried to jemmy open a window in the back of the home before giving up and smashing the laundry window to gain entry, cutting themselves in the process.

Flyscreens and a knife were found stashed behind a shed at the back of the property.

“There’s blood on walls, cupboard doors, bedroom doors ... it’s everywhere and so are the fingerprints,” Mrs Hutchings said.

Mrs Hutchings ran straight for her wardrobe when she realised an intruder had been inside.

“There’s at least $20,000 worth of jewellery gone,” she said.

“They had to have known what they were looking for.

“They have taken all the expensive items, like my baroque pearls, Swarovski and 22-carat gold jewellery.

“They were scattered in odd boxes so it didn’t look like expensive stuff.”

“Some were family heirlooms that have been passed down for years.”

Mrs Hutchings saw two young girls, aged about 16 or 17, walk into their street as they drove off.

“Our next door neighbour also saw them and heard their dog barking at the back fence of their property while we were gone, so something upset them,” she said.

The Hutchings moved to the Border two years ago.

“We lived in Melbourne for 40 years and were never robbed,” she said.

“We have been here two years and have been robbed twice.

“The other time it was a smash and grab on our daughter’s car right in front of the driveway.”

Mrs Hutchings made some of her jewellery, describing them as unique.

“One of the pearl necklaces has an old-fashioned clasp with pieces of jade in it,” she said.

Mrs Hutchings had been recovering at home after an operation on her spine two weeks ago.

“This is the last thing I needed,” she said.

“We are insured for some of it, but not everything.”

Mrs Hutchings said the area had been the target of several break-ins over the past two years and residents were fed up.

“They come here because they know they can get nice things,” she said.

Police took fingerprints and other evidence at the house yesterday.

Anyone with information should phone Albury police on (02) 6023 9299.

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