A COMMEMORATIVE plaque awarded by Victoria Police to a Mt Martha man for helping with the 1988 Ty-Eyre Task Force was stolen in an overnight raid on Sunday 2 August.
The task force had been set up to investigate the ambush and shooting deaths of Steven Tynan and Damian Eyre in South Yarra in October of that year – an investigation that, at its height, involved hundreds of officers.
The 25cm plaque was one of many items stolen, including personal and business papers, bank PINs and statements, keepsakes including the man’s first tax return from 1950, cards and mementoes of his 40 years at the National Australia Bank where he rose to be deputy chief executive, his wife’s medical files, and personal and financial details of the estates of family members.
Lloyd Smith, 84, said he and his wife, slept through the 3am raid and heard nothing.
Mornington police believe the thieves broke into the garage of the house in Glynt Gardens estate, off Bay Rd, where they also stole golf clubs, electrical tools, $40 in coins, garage door remote control, and torch.
Entering through the laundry and into the kitchen with a plastic container they rifled the man’s wallet and his wife’s purse stealing cash and credit cards and two mobile phones. In the home office they ransacked draws and cupboards stealing an inscribed briefcase, laptop and the copious statements and files – as well as body corporate records for the other properties in the estate.
Also taken were the military records of four uncles who served in World War I about whom the man is writing a family history.
Mr Smith, who has lived in Mt Martha for 23 years, said he believed the burglars had earlier been unable to break in to his neighbour’s house with a jemmy bar.
“They must have walked around her place because two side gates were open and when they failed there they came to us,” he said.
“It was a windy night and we didn’t hear a thing. Next morning I saw papers strewn around the floor and couldn’t work it out. I thought, ‘That’s strange,’ and then realised what had happened.
“They seemed to have scooped up everything they could get their hands on with the thought of possibly going through it all later.”
Mr Smith said he felt “almost stateless now” and had spent the past week changing security numbers, passwords and locks.
On the same night, burglars attempted to enter Bell’s Gourmet Meats and Warlimont & Nutt Real Estate Agents, at the nearby Lochiel Av shops.
Police have released an image of a man they wish to speak to taken in the rear car park at 3am.
Detective Senior Constable Clayton Beckhouse is appealing to anyone with information to call Mornington CIU, 5970 4900, or Crime Stoppers 1800 333 000.