A Ballarat couple have been left feeling unsafe in their own home after their house was robbed a second time in two months.
Earlier this week, Victor Barrantes and Stefi Tello went out for a few short hours, only to return to find their Golden Point home had been ransacked by thieves.
The sinking feeling in their stomachs when they arrived home to see their front door flung wide open was eerily familiar, having returned home to discover a long list of belongings including electronics and passports had been stolen from their home in late March.
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The couple moved from Colombia to Australia six years ago. While they initially settled in Brisbane, they have been living in Ballarat as permanent residents for the past two years.
While the robbery in March left them feeling devastated, this most recent home robbery has them feeling afraid that the thieves will return again.
"We are feeling scared, stressed and anxious. There is no reason to do this - not just to us, but to anyone.
"I feel unsafe and I have fear now because I don't want to leave the place. I don't want to leave my wife by herself or my dogs there. It's the worst feeling ever," he said.
Mr Barrantes took precautions before he left his home. He left the lights on inside, pulled all of the blinds down and locked all of the doors and windows.
While he had taken some of his more valuable belongings with him, one of the Colombian passports taken in the last robbery was stolen yet again as were Colombian identity documents and proof of military service.
We are feeling scared, stressed and anxious. There is no reason to do this - not just to us, but to anyone.Victor Barrantes
The stolen passport and documents - just some of a long list of belongings stolen in March - had only recently been returned by police.
This time the thieves also took other items such as a speaker, a container of protein powder (which had all been used and only contained cereal), shoes and perfume.
The couple are grateful that their small dogs - a Cavalier and Maltese Terrier - were unharmed.
Mr Barrantes suspects that if it is the same people, they could have been returning to access a safe with keys stolen in the last robbery. However, this safe was removed from the house after the first robbery.
While their rental contract ends in July, the couple do not feel safe enough to stay in the house for even a few more weeks.
While they feel unsafe in the city now, the couple do not want to leave Ballarat.
"We don't want to do that because Ballarat is a nice place to live, apart from this, but now this is all happening it makes me think if it is a place I really want to live in or if I should go back to Brisbane where I didn't have any problems at all," Mr Barrantes said.
Police are investigating the robbery. A Victoria Police spokesperson said police would continue to work hard to apprehend burglars in the Ballarat community, but ask everyone to take a few simple steps to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of burglary and theft.
Make sure your home is secured so that thieves can't steal valuable items, such as your car keys.
- Installing good quality locks on doors and windows.
- Lock all windows and doors, even when you're at home - unlocked side and rear doors are the most common entry points for burglars.
- Remove valuable items from plain sight - particularly car keys, wallets, electronic devices and cash.
- Installing an alarm system and/or CCTV or trail cameras
If you need immediate police assistance always call Triple Zero (000). Report any suspicious behaviour to your local police station or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
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