A double hit of theft and disaster has left Katherine Williams and Sean Walker on their knees.
The couple were trying to rebuild their lives after a fire destroyed their house in South Australia in June last year, with a fresh start at Snake Valley.
Only weeks into clearing their new block of land thieves waited for Mr Walker to take a break and took everything from them.
“I decided to take a day off on Saturday, because I'd been working every day for two months,” he said.
“I wanted to go down and spend some time with my daughter. We got back Sunday morning and the tractor's stolen, it's gone. The container's been broken into. Everything in there is gone.”
“All our brand new stuff we'd been purchasing; I counted about $15,000(-worth).”
Mr Walker said police suggested the thieves had staked out the property.
“Police said they thought we would have been stalked, and then they’ve waited until we weren’t there and then gone in. I mean, they took a kettle. A Kmart kettle.”
Despite some hope the rare make of the tractor – Enfly – would mean it would be found more easily, he said it was likely it was already in pieces and being sold off for parts.
Ms Williams said it was insured, like their house in Lochiel, but it will be weeks before they see any money, by which time their short-term rental will be up.
She said they had a shed arriving in two weeks, and fear of further robbery will see Mr Walker keeping a permanent watch.
“When the shed arrives, (he)’ll have to sleep up there,” she said.
Sadly, this is not the first time they have experience callous thieves.
Mr Walker said that after their house in Lochiel burnt down he had to keep watch at night.
“Cars would roll by at three, four am, with empty trailers,” he said.
The couple became emotional when talking about the help already offered by locals. Mr Walker said that he had a few men offer help in installing the tank coming in a few weeks right off the bat.
Ms Williams said their advice to others on isolated properties would be to make sure everything is completely locked up.
Their container was closed and locked but the thieves – Ms Williams said due to the heft of some stolen objects there had to be more than one person – had smashed through it.
Somehow, the traumatic theft has not dented these new arrivals’ enthusiasm for Ballarat.
If you have any information about the stolen property, call Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000 or go to crimestoppersvic.com.au.
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