Taxi driver Karen Gass, 53, was horrified to discovered that her Park Place home had been ransacked the evening before Christmas Eve.
Robbers made off with jewellery and cash and smashed the back door in the process. Shocked Karen discovered the theft when she returned from a trip to Annan at around 7.30 pm, having been out the house since 4.30 pm.
She said she was ‘gobsmacked’ by the sight of the damage and distraught to discover jewellery gifted to her from her late husband, Dod, had been taken.
She said: “It was awful, I was speechless. It was the last thing I ever expected to happen and so close to Christmas as well.”
As news of the crime spread, friends and neighbours joined together determined the heartless thieves would not spoil Karen’s Christmas.
Friend Garry Boyd took to Facebook and for £10 pledges to help fund a cash reward for information on the robbery.
And so far over £800 has been promised. He said: “Karen’s a close friend who I have worked with for 20 years and it’s devastating what happened.
“I just thought that we should do more than just send her nice Facebook messages and that a cash reward might tempt someone to come forward if they saw anything.”
Explaining how the money will only be collected when and if anyone comes forward with information, Garry said: “If someone came forward with information then I would ask all the folk who had pledged to drop off their donations at either the Brigg Inn or the Townhead, which would serve as collection points.”
He added: “Had the thieves stolen something easily replaced then in hindsight I could have asked folk just to pitch in money to buy it new, but as we know that’s not the case and Karen’s jewellery is not easy replaced.
“She at least has had some comfort from the fact that folk have actually tried to help though.”
Overwhelmed by the gesture, Karen added: “It’s amazing how much kindness has been shown. Everyone pledging money and showing how much they care has been a real comfort to me.
“I am overwhelmed by how many people care and it really means so much.”
Karen managed to enjoy a Christmas day meal with family at home and is hopeful the thieves will be traced and she can be reunited with her jewellery.
MEANWHILE a spate of break ins around mid Annandale has prompted appeals for vigilance from police.
Three break ins in Lockerbie and one in Templand were reported last week, as opportunistic thieves took advantage of Christmas.
Two houses in Lockerbie’s Sydney Gardens and one in Park Place were all targeted between December 23 and 27. And between December 22 and 24 a house in Templand was also violated.
A spokesman for Police Scotland said at this stage the Lockerbie and Templand theft were not being treated as connected.
He advised people to take precautions of securing their homes and valuables and be alert for suspicious activity.
Anyone with any information on any of the thefts should contact police on 101. Suspicious persons or vehicles should also be reported at the time, allowing police a better chance of tracing them.