Dead mum’s property burgled

Tamra CarrGeraldton Guardian
Caroline Horsham says she is glad her mother, Cecilia, did not live to see her home get ransacked earlier this month.
Camera IconCaroline Horsham says she is glad her mother, Cecilia, did not live to see her home get ransacked earlier this month. Credit: Tamra Carr, The Geraldton Guardian

A Geraldton family has been left distraught after thieves broke into the home of their late mother and stole tens of thousands of dollars of personal items, including jewellery.

Cecilia Wanke, affectionately known as “Celia,” died on August 16 after a six-year battle with pancreatic cancer.

Husband Rob recently left Geraldton to go on the holiday he and his wife had planned before her death, to honour her memory.

While he was away last week, thieves broke into their Rangeway home, stole two TVs and his late wife’s jewellery.

The Wankes’ daughter, Caroline Horsham, said she also suspected her great-uncle’s war medals had been taken, as well as special gold bangles, which her mother gifted to herself every year she survived cancer.

“I have to try and remember all the jewellery that’s missing,” Ms Horsham said.

“It’s painful enough to look at photos of mum so soon after she passed ... but now I have to go through old pictures and blow them up to identify the jewellery.

“It’s hard work and it’s horrible. I’m just glad they didn’t get her wedding or engagement rings, because my sister and I wore them to her funeral.”

Ms Horsham said her husband checked on the empty home on September 9 and it was not visited again until September 12, leaving them unsure when the house was ransacked.

The thieves broke into the Felicia Street house from the back and trashed the place, including rifling through sympathy cards acknowledging Ms Wanke’s death that had been left on the counter.

Ms Horsham said she and her three siblings were angry and hoped the culprits were found and jailed.

“People are running rife; they don’t care if they get caught,” she said.

“We need more consequences, for the courts to dish out bigger punishments.

“I know it’s difficult because a lot of crime is committed by kids and younger people ... but we need people put away.

“There’s just so many people suffering.”

Mrs Wanke is remembered as a “beautiful soul,” who cleaned homes for the elderly through the Home and Community Care Program and knitted for premature babies.

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