Philip Kelly was in his Beechworth home early Sunday morning when, just 50 metres away, brazen thieves were loading items from his shed into their car.
The pensioner and his nephew had no idea what was going on.
“It’s a solid concrete property, you don’t hear cars coming and going,” Mr Kelly said.
“When we came up to the shed about 8.30am, we realised we had been burgled.”
Luckily he had installed CCTV cameras in the shed, which captured the movements of the two male thieves.
Police have released that footage in the hope the public can help identify the men.
It shows them driving past the main house and up to the shed on the rural property and taking multiple chainsaws, tools and drills worth about $12,000.
Mr Kelly said he thought he lived in a safe part of the world.
“It’s just unbelievable to think that somebody comes that close to the house and then comes up to rob your shed,” he said. “It’s a little bit daunting to think that it happened, but such is life.”
He admitted he was “having a little bit of a rough trot” in the past 12 months, as he is also waiting for a shoulder reconstruction, but was unlikely to upgrade his home security.
Detective Sergeant Graeme Simpfendorfer said investigators believed they had identified the car and one of the men in the video, but the second man – seen wearing an Everlast T-shirt – was the key.
“A number of items were stolen from the shed, including power tools, so we’re keen to recover them for the victim,” he said.
“It’s always concerning when people are home that there may be a confrontation - we’re very concerned about that so we want to catch these guys pretty quick.”
The theft at the remote property did not appear to be linked with any other recent crimes.
“The ones that are remote, they are a bit more vulnerable than others, but on this occasion he’s got some footage to protect him and it probably will pay dividends,” Detective Simpfendorfer said.
“It’s always great to have CCTV as an avenue of inquiry and on the footage that we’ve seen, you can see the offenders looking for cameras - I think on this occasion they’ve missed the critical one, which is good for us.”
Anyone with information can contact Wodonga police on (02) 6049 2700 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.