Security, Nostalgia Stolen From Senior

By Sara Faruqi, Toronto Police Service Published: 10:50 a.m. September 24, 2014
Updated: 1:59 p.m. September 24, 2014

A 92-year-old woman knows that insurance can’t recoup the sentimental value of what was lost, after a thief broke into her home and stole heirloom jewellery and other valuables that belonged to her and her late husband.

An elderly woman standing on her porch, looking at the camera, in the background there are flowers with some sunlight falling on to them.
Violet's home was broken into, with items of both monetary and sentimental value stolen.

Violet had just walked into her Beach home with her two daughters Evelyn and Gayle. They were returning from Gayle’s dialysis appointment at the hospital. Evelyn asked her if she had left the back door open. She hadn’t. 

The Queen St. E. and Neville Park Boulevard home of the three women was broken into Monday, September 22, while they were at the hospital in the late afternoon. The thief took jewellery, watches and other items owned by her and her daughter, Evelyn, as well as her late husband, Joseph. She especially prizes a gift from Joseph: an authentic recreation of Tutankhamen’s Scarab by the Egyptian Museum, only 1000 exist. 

“I would very much like it back," says Violet, whose last name is not being used. “Money means nothing, you can’t replace the sentimental value.” 

A photo of a booklet with a woman in a picture wearing a Scarab with blue stones.
A limited- edition Egyptian Scarab was stolen from Violet's house. The necklace was a gift from her husband in 1977.

The three women were relieved that they took their dog to the hospital appointment that day. Luckily, their three house cats hid rather than leaving through the open window.

“I don’t have to go (with Gayle), but I go for the ride,” she says. They left all their doors and windows locked, but forgot to close one back window. “I left it open, just a crack,” says Violet, shaking her head. When they got back, the screen of that open window was pushed in and the gnomes Violet loves collecting were smashed to pieces on the floor near the window.

Most of the goods stolen belonged to Joseph, who passed away in 2007, Violet had some of his things in a box in her closet, along with the Scarab. She also had his ashes and death certificate in a green velvet case that was tossed on the floor along with clothes, notes and Christmas cards when her bedroom was ransacked.

The intruder also took jewelry and watches that belonged to Evelyn. 

An elderly woman with an empty box in her hand, looking down at more empty boxes and pieces of paper.
Violet shows the empty boxes where once her husband's jewellery and watches were.

A contractor working on a neighbouring home saw a man pull into the driveway in a truck. The man in the truck, according to the witness, was bald, well-dressed, wearing a black suit and sunglasses. He proceeded towards the house in such a confident manner, that the worker thought he was supposed to be there, says Violet. According to the witness, the man walked towards the back of the house; within 15 minutes he was back in his truck, speeding away. 

“It is very upsetting for a person to target elderly people at a time in their life when they should be able to relax,” says Detective Robert Whalen, who is investigating the crime.

But, thanks to an observant contractor on the street, they have a good description of the truck and the intruder. The truck is described as a 2011-2012 gold-coloured Chevrolet Silverado 3500 series, with ‘Chevrolet’ written in one-foot-tall block letters on both sides at the base of the doors. The windows are also heavily tinted with ‘Chevrolet’ written in block letters on the rear window. 

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-5500, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), online at  222tips.com, text TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637), or Leave A Tip on Facebook. Download the free Crime Stoppers Mobile App on iTunes, Google Play or Blackberry App World. 

There were over 7,000 break-and-enters in 2013 across the city.

It is the third time Violet has experienced a break-in, twice at another home in another city.

A day after the burglary, Violet says she isn’t feeling as violated as she did the day before, ever-practical she feels more annoyed at not keeping an inventory of the goods in the house and not turning on her alarm. She is hopeful pawn shop owners will recognize the Scarab and not buy it. “Unless he sells it on eBay,” she muses.

Toronto Police Service Home Security Pamphlet

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