Christine Bryar says she is sickened by an opportunistic thief who stole a brand new mobile phone from a garage sale held at the weekend to help cover the costs of her son’s unexpected death.
The pensioner said she was still coming to terms with the grief and anxeity over Scott Curtis’ death last month and had organised the garage sale as a way to fund the transportation of his cremated remains back to Ballarat from Augusta in Western Australia.
The brand new Telstra Rush Smartphone had been displayed on a table with other electrical goods when a heartless person pocketed it without paying.
“We did advertised it in the paper as a fundraiser for funeral costs, so whether the person knew or not I’m not sure,” Ms Bryar said. "They might have just come in off the street and not known what we were holding it for, but it is still sickening.”
It is not the first time thieves have targeted Ms Bryar. Last year she held a similar garage sale to help pay for medical bills, with jewellery stolen on the day.
“Again I had kept quite a good eye on the jewellery all day, but you only have to turn away for a second. It is terrible,” she said.
“It does happen, I have heard people say when they've had garage sales that there will always be something go missing.”
Ms Bryar said the cost was about $8000 to transport Scott’s remains and some of his prized possessions back to Victoria. She planned to sprinkle some of his ashes near Ballarat, while his final resting place will be in QLD with his four children.
Ms Bryar said Scott, 41, had battled mental illness for much of his life, which made it hard for him to settle. As a result he traveled to many destinations around Australia.
“The thing people don't realise is mental illness doesn't just affect the sufferer, it affects the whole family,” she said.
“Scott lived as well as he could with mental illness most of his life choosing to live as far away from his loved ones so his illness could not cause anymore pain and distress in his bad times.
“We were just hoping that Scott would find some peace somewhere, which he did finally in WA. He had made some great friends and shared his love for fishing, four wheel driving and photography.
“In the last part of his life he had been able to share with his children and myself contentment that he had never reached before.”
Donations to help fund the costs of bringing Scott Curtis’ remains back to his family can be made by visiting www.gofundme.com/9h3qhmcn