Mum gutted as precious photos stolen

By Jesse Clark

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Emma George and her family, at home in Napier, lost 14 years' worth of photos and videos when they were burgled. A laptop along with backup drives and other items were stolen from the house. The laptop mouse is all that is left. Photo/Glenn Taylor
Emma George and her family, at home in Napier, lost 14 years' worth of photos and videos when they were burgled. A laptop along with backup drives and other items were stolen from the house. The laptop mouse is all that is left. Photo/Glenn Taylor

A Napier mother of four has been robbed of 14 years' worth of photos and videos which document, among other things, her children as newborns and memories of her mother who died two years ago.

Now she is appealing for help to get back the memories saved on her laptop, which was stolen when her family home was burgled on Friday.

Emma George from Napier South, was robbed of many items last week but said she didn't care about them; she just wanted her memories back.

One of the items stolen was a "crappy old laptop" which contained 14 years of photos and videos of her family and her late mother.

"Out of everything they took, the only thing I want back is something that is worth nothing, but it's worth everything to me. It has memories of my Mum who passed away two years ago and memories of my babies who can't be babies anymore.

"It has loads and loads of photos and videos from holidays and most importantly of my babies as newborns, the first minutes of their lives, their first crawl and roll. The stuff a mother really treasures."

She said she doesn't care about the laptop itself or the other stolen goods, it was the digital files with sentimental value she wanted back.

"The equipment I don't give a rat's about ... If they felt like giving me CDs with all of the videos and photos on it, I'd be thrilled.

"I'm not even angry, in a weird way I know there are people who do burglaries and that's their life, I don't understand it but that's life, I'm just saying please if there is any way, keep the laptop, just give me back my memories."

Not only has the burglary deeply affected Mrs George, she said her kids were traumatised by it too.

After a camping trip, Mrs George and her family came back in the middle of the day to find the house had been "totally gone through".

"They smashed my 2-year-old daughter's window and climbed on through her room. It's just such a violation."

Mrs George has three daughters, 14, 10 and 2, and a son, 3.

"My son has been gorgeous, he saw me sobbing my heart out. He's not used to seeing that and he came up to me and started bawling so we asked what was wrong and he said: 'they took my kindy bag and my racing car bag'.

So I went and looked and it was still in his room but that to me, was his 3-year-old way of internalising it.

"The next day he came up to me and hugged me and said: 'Mummy I'm sorry that they took your videos, I'll look after you', and that just broke my heart again."

Mrs George said she wanted the burglars to know that what they have done was not victimless.

A policerepresentative said: "We are hoping that someone will recognise the circumstance of the offence and will know who is responsible. Police are calling for information about that person or persons but most importantly we want to help our victim get her memories back."

On a brighter note, Mrs George said she had been so thankful to all those who helped.

"The whole thing, as much as it has crushed me, it has restored my faith in humanity because thousands of people have shared my story and that is just amazing to us. I have said to my older girls that there are ratbags out there but there are also really good people who actually care.

"I appreciate what the community is doing, ... I would love to tell those people that they are amazing and have performed a miracle in my life."

Mrs George said, the police told her they have some suspicion the burglary could be linked to others as there have been a number of burglaries where food has been eaten or taken.

"They took odd stuff, of course they took gadgets and jewellery but that's obvious. They also took a block of cheese and three litres of juice."

Police suggested other residents store their memories on external hard drives or seek reputable cloud storage.

Police are appealing for information about the burglary. Please phone Hawke's Bay Police on (09) 873 0100 or anonymously via Crimestoppers.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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