Heirloom stolen from sick woman

A MILLBANK woman is distraught after returning home from hospital to discover antique family heirlooms worth about $23,000 were missing from her home.

Christopher Desgrand said his 83-year-old mother had been in hospital for nine weeks after breaking her hip.

She only noticed the valuable family seal — worth more than $20,000 — and a gold Russian egg, worth about $3000, were gone when she got home.

“We honestly don’t know how much they were really worth, as they were unique items,” Mr Desgrand said.

“The seal was about 300 years old, and was passed down through my father’s family — it came from a castle in Scotland, which was his ancestral home.”

He said the egg was from around 1901 and it was bought by a family member on a pilgrimage to Israel a number of years ago.

“It was smuggled out of Russia by Jewish people who were escaping the Pogroms (anti-Semite attacks) and brought into Israel,” Mr Desgrand said.

He said the items were stolen from his mother’s house at some point during September or October, but it was not clear when because there had not been a break-in.

“The place is like a fortress, so we know that it must have been someone who was invited into the house or an opportunistic thief who may have seen Mum in the garden,” he said.

“The person who took them would have known they were of some value but probably had no idea how rare they were.”

The golden egg is about 12cm tall, with a picture of Christ engraved on one side, and another picture on the other side.

The family seal has a cylindrical ivory handle about eight centimetres long , with a solid gold foot, with a dark green seal imprint that has a Latin inscription.

Bundaberg Police Senior Constable Ricky Lynch said the items were stored on top of a buffet in the dining room.

“There is no evidence of any break to the property — all windows and doors are security grilled and locked,” Snr Const Lynch said.

“It is possible an invited person into the home has committed the offence.”


Mr Desgrand is offering a substantial cash reward for information leading to the recovery of the precious artefacts.

Anyone with information is asked to telephone Bundaberg Police on 4153 9111 or Crime Stoppers on 1900 333 000.

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