A PARENT?S NIGHTMARE
By HELEN JACK
JOHN BAILEY wants a bounty on the head of a thief who invaded his family's Lismore home on Sunday night, endangering the safety of his fiancee and new-born twin daughters.
"As a father the hardest thing is to know that some mongrel was close to my girls," he said.
Mr Bailey, his fiancee Rheia Leonard, and their seven-week-old twins Caprice and Nakita, were exhausted after a visit to relatives in Grafton, arriving home at 6pm on Sunday.
The back door of their home in North Street was left open to catch a breeze as Rheia fed their babies and settled them down.
As the twins slept in their bouncers on the loungeroom floor, Rheia and John lay on their bed in the next room.
Sometime between 10.15 and 10.45pm, a thief strolled in through the back door of their home, walked into the loungeroom stealing mobile phones and Rheia's handbag containing a digital camera and her wallet from a coffee table next to the sleeping twins.
The thief then picked through a laundry basket taking John's best clothes, pulled phone chargers from a powerpoint, took a computer printer from the dining room table and packets of cigarettes.
Such a brazen act was made even more invasive when the thief picked through John and Rheia's fridge taking a bottle of soft drink.
"I heard a noise at the side of the house, but I thought it was the neighbour," Rheia said.
"I got up to get the girls ready for bed and saw my handbag was gone; I came to the back door and saw the babies' back pack was missing and the bunny rugs strewn over the back verandah.
"I woke John and the more we looked the more we saw missing."
Furious over the violation of his home and the peril his family was exposed to, John is willing to offer his car as a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the thief or thieves.
"I am a family man and I want to protect my family. Anything could have happened to the girls," he said.
"The thief had better hope the police catch him before I do."
Neighbour Melissa Ryan said yesterday that she was also
devastated by the incident.
"I sat with Rheia until 1am until police arrived," she said
"I keep thinking what would I do if someone came into my house."
Senior Constable Michael Hogan said police were continuing to investigate the matter and ask members of the public with any information to call Lismore police on 6623 1599.
"We urge residents to secure their houses even while they are home," he said.