Grieving family lose precious photos to callous thief
BEREAVED family and friends of Caloundra man Gareth Lowndes have had their grief compounded by the theft of irreplaceable items from his home.
Friends of the 33-year-old became worried for his welfare on Sunday night after they could not raise him at his unit.
His family and police were contacted on Monday morning, before his close friend Jai Don used a spare key to get inside.
He discovered Mr Lowndes dead in his bed.
His death is believed to be the result of a medical incident but final autopsy results are yet to confirm the cause.
Mr Don's partner Stacey Ohlin was at the unit on Monday to support her partner after the confronting find.
They had noticed Mr Lowndes' PlayStation 3 gaming console was at the home.
Its contents included at least 10 years of Mr Lowndes' digital photographs that had been backed up on its hard drive.
Police locked the unit after they completed their investigations.
Meanwhile, Mr Lowndes mother Julia Chick and sister Brea Kingsland made their way up from the Gold Coast after hearing the devastating news.
They all went to see Mr Lowndes at Nambour Hospital on Tuesday morning before heading to his home to clean it up.
When they arrived they noticed his PlayStation as well as a Nintendo Wii console he had borrowed from a neighbour were missing.
They thought the neighbour may have come and got them but checks revealed the neighbour had not.
Then they saw evidence of a break-in through a bathroom window.
"His whole life was on it," Ms Ohlin said of the PlayStation.
The theft of the images they wanted to use in Mr Lowndes' funeral has left them shocked.
"I don't even have words (to describe it)," Ms Ohlin said.
"It is just absolutely horrific."
Mrs Kingsland said her younger brother had Asperger's syndrome but was very high functioning.
"We were tight," Mrs Kingsland said.
"If anyone looked at him the wrong way they had to deal with me, his big sister."
She said her brother used to refer to himself, his mum and his sister as "The Three Amigos".
Her brother had always loved music and had played four instruments when he was at school.
That included playing The Last Post on a flute at an Anzac Day service when he was child.
"Unfortunately life was tough but he did live life to the fullest, as best he could."
Mrs Kingsland said her brother was an organ donor but too much time had passed after his death to when he was found for his major organs to be used.
Police are investigating the theft. Friends and family of Mr Lowndes are desperate to have the PlayStation returned.
The CBX Caloundra Hotel has agreed to receive the PlayStation no questions asked if someone drops it in.
Anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers anonymously on 1800 333 000.