Rifles in hands of criminals after thieves ransack Downs farm
A Millmerran family thought it had done everything right to secure its farm before driving north for a Christmas holiday.
The sheds and gun safe were locked tight and they had arranged for family members to check the property daily.
But this did not stop thieves from entering the Kooroongarra property late Wednesday and stealing tools, firearms and equipment valued at more than $50,000.
Mum Alicia Fitzpatrick said the raid was a heartbreaking end to the very difficult year.
“We have lost at least a year’s income,” she said.
“Every farmer is doing it tough and we had been trying to fence the property so we can be a bit more diverse in what we do, but they cut straight through the new fence.”
Mrs Fitzpatrick said the district was on alert with several farm burglaries reported in recent months.
“People are going around destroying farmers' livelihoods,” she said.
It is believed the thieves entered the farm sometime between 9.30pm Wednesday and 9am the following day.
Mrs Fitzpatrick said they would have been on the property for some time, as they methodically worked the place over.
The stolen items include Husqvarna 2008 WR250 and CR50 motorbikes, a large number of diesel fitting tools and even unopened tins of Milo and coffee.
Worryingly, four rifles are missing, including a Stirling Model 14 .22 calibre rifle and a Centenary .303 replica rifle.
“They not pigging guns, they were family heirlooms of great sentimental value,” Mrs Fitzpatrick said.
The weapons were locked in a gun safe, but Mrs Fitzpatrick said it offered little protection as the thieves had the time and strength to break it open.
“They used brute force on every lock,” she said.
“We made it as hard as possible for anyone to get in, but they still managed to.
“There was a Snap-On toolbox filled to the brim that my husband can’t lift, but they have.”
The family appealed for anyone with information about the break in to come forward.
If you can help phone Policelink on 131 444.
Quote reference number: QP2002581798
Originally published as Rifles in hands of criminals after thieves ransack Downs farm