Brazen theft but 50-year old handbag recovered

A NEWLYN grandmother was this week allegedly robbed of her pension and the handbag given to her 50 years ago.

Cherrill Ryrie with her 50-year-old handbag.

Cherrill Ryrie with her 50-year-old handbag.

While enjoying lunch with five friends at a Sturt Street restaurant about 1.30pm on Thursday, the unique cowhide handbag belonging to Cherrill Ryrie was stolen during a brazen daylight robbery.

About $1000 in cash, personal papers and keys were also stolen, but it was the loss the handbag her parents gave her five decades ago that most upset Mrs Ryrie.

Luckily, the handbag was returned to her on Thursday night, almost seven hours after it was stolen. Unfortunately, the cash and contents were not found.

“This handbag has great sentimental value. My parents had it made for me and I have used it almost every day since,” said Mrs Ryrie, a 70-year-old grandmother of three.

Mrs Ryrie was visiting the restaurant with five friends before attending a meeting of former employees of the iconic Lucas factory, where she worked.

Earlier that day, she had withdrawn her pension to pay for a roadworthy certificate and registration for a secondhand car she recently bought, as well as money for a vet bill for her sick cat.

“I was shocked at how six people could not see the bag being taken,” Mrs Ryrie said.

“The bag was sitting right beside me. I didn’t realise it was taken until I was about to go to the toilet before attending the (Lucas) meeting. It just wasn’t there.”

Mrs Ryrie and her friends checked the restaurant toilet and other bins surrounding the building, hoping the bag might have been dumped.

While her bag was eventually returned after being found in Sturt Street, Mrs Ryrie said the thief would have been shocked with at least one of the bag’s contents ... her false teeth.

She hopes the theft of her bag will act as a warning to others to look after their belongings, even if they were placed right beside them.

“I can understand if I went to the toilet and left the bag on the seat, but it was sitting beside me and I didn’t even feel it being taken,” Mrs Ryrie said.

She is determined not to let the robbery faze her from enjoying her busy life.

“I have battled and beaten cancer before, I have lived with diabetes and thyroid problems ... I won’t let being robbed beat me,” she said.

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