‘Get a job and work hard like I did’: Widow blasts thief
A VIETNAM War veteran's elderly widow who lost irreplaceable personal mementos when her unit was burgled says it doesn't get much lower than stealing from a retirement home.
Andrea Farmer, 76, is appealing for the return of sentimental belongings taken from her Helensvale pad in the Tranquillity Gardens community last Wednesday.
In an open letter to the thief - she sent to the Bulletin for publication - Mrs Farmer says she doesn't care about the money taken but desperately wants her personal items back.
The items - "worth virtually nothing to anyone other than me" - included a note saying "I love you Granny" from her five-year-old granddaughter. It was something she carried around in her purse, stolen during the break-in.
A teary Ms Farmer told the Bulletin yesterday: "Stealing from a retirement village, you can't get much lower than that."
She was out attending an Easter celebration on Wednesday night when, upon returning to her home, she noticed her bed had been unmade and the television switched off.
"I did leave the television on for the cat, I felt guilty for being out all day and leaving him again so I turned it on so he had some company," she said.
Mrs Farmer noticed her purse was gone and her bedroom appeared to have been rummaged through.
"The bedroom and the bed was all messed up. I felt sick, I was shaking. My voice just went all shaky, you feel violated."
"The first thing that come to mind was someone had come to steal the cat," she said.
"Once I knew the cat was okay, I got on the phone to the police.
"One of the drawers was open. There was a pillow case missing. In the second bedroom nothing had been touched at all," she said.
"It didn't take them (the thief) long to realise what I'd had was a load of rubbish that means nothing to anyone except me."
Mrs Farmer said she felt partial responsibility for leaving a window slightly open and would take more security measures.
"I'd forgotten about the bedroom window being open a couple of inches but I thought I was safe here," Mrs Farmer said.
"Another person was broken into but he left his door open."
Mrs Farmer is originally from England and moved to Australia in 1967 with her first husband.
She shifted to the Gold Coast in 1982, remarrying a Vietnam Veteran in 1996. He tragically passed away five weeks after their wedding from a stroke.
"It hasn't been a cushy life," Mrs Farmer said.
She spent her career working in hotels and had been looking after her elderly mother for the last 14 years.
All of her children and grandchildren live in England.
Despite the circumstances, Mrs Farmer was trying to focus on the positive.
"It could have been a lot worse," she said. '
"I don't hold out much hope (for having my belongings returned) but you never know your luck in a big city."
A Queensland Police Service spokesman said investigations are continuing into two Tranquillity Gardens break-ins reported last week but there was no CCTV.
MRS FARMER'S LETTER:
"I AM a 76-year-old widow who has lived the past few months feeling safe and secure in a retirement village, after spending 14 years caring for my elderly mother, who is now deceased.
My life changed dramatically last Wednesday evening, when, while attending an Easter celebration at the community centre where I live, you chose to break into my home and steal precious possessions, with the result that now I no longer feel safe and secure.
I hope you never get to feel what it's like to know that a complete stranger has been through your belongings and I'm sure it didn't take you long to realise that what few possessions I have, are worth virtually nothing to anyone other than me.
Yes, you took my purse and I don't begrudge you the money that was in it. After all, I virtually invited you in, by inadvertently leaving my bedroom window open a couple of inches and not having more robust security screens. However, what I do miss dreadfully are all the bits of trivia that were in the purse.
I wonder if you felt guilty reading the note from my 5-year-old granddaughter who lives in England, which said "I love you Granny". It was so special to me, as were many of the other things that I chose to keep in the purse. I would hate to think that you have no conscience!
Sadly, my old address book which you took didn't contain any PIN numbers. Neither did my 2019 diary, which has disappeared, only details of special friends and again bits of trivia - relevant only to me, things that become so special as you grow older.
The main inconvenience was cancelling the credit cards. Once I had reported the matter to the police, it didn't take long. Now I have to get replacement cards for all the others, cards that are of no use to you whatsoever. So if you would care to return them to me, it will save a lot of time.
I hope that your life isn't being controlled by drugs and that in time you will see fit to mend your ways, get a job and work hard, as I did. It's the only way to get satisfaction out of life and always remember to "smell the roses". It's things like that in life which cost nothing that give the most pleasure.
I doubt that you will ever read this letter, but I feel a little better, having got things off my chest, so to speak! I will never forget Easter 2019 and you have made me lose faith in human nature to a degree, which is disappointing.
Hopefully your Easter break has been a happier one than mine has, thanks to your uninvited visit!
Signed: A very disillusioned Granny, at the state of how the world is now!"