A WIDOWER who lost his home and the love of his life within two months has suffered further heartache thanks to callous thieves.
Barry Owens, 75, went to his beloved Wyuna property on Sunday morning to mow the lawns and found the gate open with his tractor and trailer gone.
When he went into his shed, he found his ride-on mower, log splitter, chainsaws, whipper snippers, welding machine, water tank pumps and generator stolen.
The stolen possessions are estimated to be worth roughly $40,000.
“This is a blow that Dad does not need considering he is grieving the loss of his wife and doing his best to adjust to life without her,” daughter Kim Wheeler said.
“Dad's health has not been good since Mum's passing and he has done his best to soldier on without her, but it has been hard in recent times as we warned him to take care of himself and only go out when he needs to due to our fear of him contracting coronavirus.
“One place he could go without worries and he had a purpose to visit was the house site where he would mow the grass and tinker in his shed.”
Barry and his late wife Margaret lost their home on the eight-acre property to a fire on December 27 last year.
His daughter Adrienne Wheeler said Barry had been staying in a Kyabram motel since then while he waits for his insurance to be resolved.
“He’s here at my house at the moment and he doesn’t want to go out there anymore. He doesn’t feel safe,” she said.
“All of his sheds had been gone through and all of his cupboards and lockers and things like that.
“The last straw was when they stole all of his tools. He was a carpenter and he had a lot of really good tools. He cherished it all.
“It leaves a really bitter taste in his mouth after everything that has happened. That was his way of going back to his old life and now he’s got nothing of that left.”
Kim said the burglary, which occurred between Thursday afternoon and Sunday morning, had been a kick in the guts for her father.
“Whoever did this was fully aware of the devastation that had befallen this family as they committed this heinous act surrounded with the debris that was once my parents’ beloved home,” she said.
“It must have been a few people and cars too as they took the tractor away on a trailer.
“The grandkids all loved this tractor, getting up and sitting in the seat when they were young and pretending to drive it. I'm not sure which of them christened the tractor Bucky, but it stuck.”
Leading Senior Constable Bill Hayes said police were following a line of inquiry.
“It’s not the way that we expect Australians to behave,” he said.
“People need to start jacking up against the crooks and saying that it’s just not on. This guy is struggling, and he needs a break.”
“We’re seeking any witnesses and they can either report details to us here at Kyabram police station or Crime Stoppers.”
Anyone with information can contact police on 5483 1777 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.