Darryl White lost his beloved wife Rona to cancer six weeks ago and last Friday came home to find her precious jewellery had been stolen from him too.
"I was just numb. The fact that it hadn't even been six weeks since she passed and some low life has done this and it's all we have from her," the 67-year-old said.
Mr White arrived at his Cherrywood home after work to find the front door open, blinds shut and things out of place. A window had been forced open.
But apart from a stolen drill, most of the house seemed normal and untouched, he said.
"Until I went into our bedroom and it was chaos. Everything had been pulled out of the drawers, the lowboy, the drawers on either side of our bed, the wardrobe."
His wife had two jewellery boxes and both had been opened and scattered all over the bed.
"The three kids just burst into tears because it was for them what was taken. It was to be handed down."
Mr White said there were expensive items stolen, but the sentimental loss was much more devastating.
Wedding rings, engagement rings, gold bracelets and necklaces, pearls from his mother that she got in Japan, and a precious one-off greenstone necklace - all worth about $8000-$10,000, were all gone.
"They just tear everyone's hearts apart by doing this," he said.
The couple married in Katikati in April, 1973. They met when they were both working at the old telephone exchange building in town.
Mrs White had breast cancer in 2004 but managed to get through it and everything was fine, Mr White said, until a year ago when bone cancer was found.
She was 65 when she died.
He said police came around to the house on Saturday morning to look for fingerprints.
Police confirmed they received a burglary complaint at Mr White's address as well as four others in the area on Friday.
"All five burglaries are of a similar nature, happened during the day and similar glove patterns have been found at the addresses," area response manager Senior Sergeant Mark Pakes said.
"Police recognise the huge impact that dwelling burglary has on individuals, families and communities, it is an invasive crime that seriously affects its victims.
"We want to [assure] the wider community that these burglaries are being thoroughly investigated."
Pakes said it was also a timely reminder for residents to be extra vigilant in the area – "prevention is key".
He said people should always keep their houses locked and secure and be aware of any suspicious behaviour in their neighbourhood.
Anyone who was a victim of crime or was concerned about suspicious behaviour was asked to call the police.
"If someone has broken into your house call 111 immediately."