Canada Family treasures stolen from home of man who recently died

00:08  10 january  2018
00:08  10 january  2018 Source:   cbc.ca

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Thieves stole family heirlooms and memorabilia. - Christian Roach. Sometime between Friday and Sunday, the home of JP MacDonald, who died on Nov. The hardest part for the family has been losing family treasures that carried history for generations.

I mean, somebody died for those medals, so we can't put a price on that stuff." The First World War medals were awarded posthumously to Emily Wadden's great-grandfather, who was killed in battle. War memorabilia and old photographs were stolen from the home .

Family treasures stolen from home of man who recently died© Submitted by Steve Wadden Family treasures stolen from home of man who recently died

The grief of a family in Sydney, N.S., over the death of a relative has been compounded by the theft of valuable historical and sentimental items.

Steve Wadden's father-in-law, J.P. MacDonald, died in November. He had lived alone in his home since his wife died several years ago.

The house stood empty over the holidays.

Then, early Sunday morning, a neighbour spotted a truck backed up to the house.

House ransacked

The thieves are believed to have been inside for no more than 30 minutes, but after they left, a complete set of table china and a large collection of family war memorabilia were missing, along with vintage photographs of MacDonald ancestors.

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"It looked like they knew what they were looking for," said Wadden. "Just the items of great interest, of great value, were stolen. Whoever was in there, they took the time to use the bathroom. They didn't flush the toilet. They turned the place upside down — every suitcase, every shelf, everything was turned upside down."

Oddly, Wadden said, despite the ransacking, the house wasn't vandalized.

"It seems like there was certain level of care or respect that went into this, which is also very suspicious and puzzling to us," he said.

Priceless items

Some contents of the house were professionally appraised after his father-in-law's death, but Wadden said the total value of the stolen items is still unclear.

"It's still a bit heartbreaking for my wife and I to go through the stuff," he said. "For sure, we know that there's thousands of dollars in china, both Spode and Limoges china, that's very rare and very old. Certainly thousands in jewelry."

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Also gone is a large collection of medals and other personal items from both world wars.

"They do have appraised values," Wadden said, "even though I don't know how much of a market there is for that stuff. I mean, somebody died for those medals, so we can't put a price on that stuff."

The First World War medals were awarded posthumously to Emily Wadden's great-grandfather, who was killed in battle. Her late grandfather earned medals in the Second World War.

"There's very few people left in the family who can help them piece together their history. And that violation by what seems to be somebody who had knowledge about what was in that house, it's very disturbing, it's very upsetting," said an emotional Wadden.

Reward offered

Wadden, who admits his first reaction to the callous theft was rage, is throwing himself fully into recovering the stolen items.

The police and Crime Stoppers are involved in investigating the theft, thousands of antiques dealers across the country have been contacted by a local dealer and Wadden has hired a private investigator.

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"I, myself, I'm offering a cash reward, $1,000 cash, no questions asked, if somebody brings back all of these items — and I want every single last thing."

Wadden thinks the thieves could not expect to get more than a few hundred dollars on the black market for the items.

"My hope is that people will do the right thing," he said, "and that they'll see this as a good opportunity to just walk away scot-free with more money than they're ever going to get by trying to hock this stuff to whoever's going to buy it."

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