AN Apollo Bay woman says thieves stole her jewellery and trashed her home during parties while a “trusted friend” looked after her property.
Annabel Tellis Tunley said a friend she regarded as her godson was “house-sitting” while she and her family were away for a fundraising event.
Mrs Tellis Tunley said she returned after two nights to find a filthy house, cigarette burns in her children’s trampoline, and her valuable possessions gone.
“My sister in Italy has offered a $1000 reward for the return of the jewellery because some of it was our grandmother’s and there were coins from the turn of the century that had been handed down,” she said.
Mrs Tellis Tunley said she believed about 80 young people from Apollo Bay and Colac had partied at her home on the two nights.
“He had no idea they stole anything but I trusted him,” she said.
“The house was a real mess; all my jewellery was gone and a lot of it is irreplaceable.
“They’d stolen all our food and drink, my entire make-up collection, perfumes, medicines, my prescriptions for anaphylaxis, and they ripped out pages of a children’s book to use as toilet paper.”
Mrs Tellis Tunley said she had reported the thefts and damage to the police but she was concerned the thief or thieves would not return her treasured possessions.
“Missing jewellery includes two hand-crafted rings made to order by a Scottish jeweller on the births of my two children, an Edwardian three-string pearl necklace with diamond clasp, my grandmother’s rose gold 1910 blue topaz ring which is priceless to me, and my husband’s entire cufflink collection,” she said.
“A malachite green teardrop pendant given to me by my husband on the birth of my son, an onyx and silver bracelet bought on my Dad’s death and more than eight other pieces of jewellery I can no longer pass on to my children.
“I’m really worried I’m not going to get them back,” Mrs Tellis Tunley said.
“But losing my friends has been the biggest grievance for me because I can’t change what’s happened.”
Mrs Tellis Tunley said she had also suffered asthma and had difficulty sleeping since the incident.
“I am receiving information about what has happened and feel that the blame cannot be put squarely on my trusted house-sitter,” she said.
“His friends were here and a member of his family and I think they should have been more respectful of my trust, knowing how close we were.
“My friend had no idea that anything had been stolen and this has been a hard lesson for him in trusting people too.”
People with information about the jewellery or other stolen items can contact Apollo Bay police.