OTTUMWA — One Ottumwa family’s holiday season was made significantly more difficult this year after they discovered the house they were moving out of had been broken into.
Just like out of Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas, thieves knocked down the basement door to the home of Erin and Lori Montgomery and took just about everything they owned.
Three weeks ago, they went back to their old home at the corner of Phillips and Third streets to get some things to take to their new house only to find that strangers had apparently spent a good deal of time in their old home. The boxes that were ready to be moved were supposed to be sitting in the upstairs of the house, but instead they were emptied and thrown about the downstairs.
Not only that, but they noticed several things had been taken. Loads of collectibles and items passed down from generations were missing or tossed on the floor. Even their washer and dryer had been taken from the basement.
“The thing that upsets us the most is we had collectibles and Christmas presents for our children,” Erin said.
Thankfully, they had moved a good deal of items to their new residence, but what was left was either taken or destroyed. A big screen television that was in the upstairs was destroyed, then left in the hallway. Another closet was nearly full before the robbers came, and after they left only a few sweaters were left.
With all of the things that were taken from the home, it is likely that whoever stole the items was in the house for a good amount of time. But, unfortunately, the Montgomerys' former neighbors did not notice anything at the house, according to Erin.
They have contacted the pawn shops, flea markets and thrift stores in the area, Erin said, but there isn’t a whole lot they can do unless someone shows up with their items. He said police do not have any leads on who could have broken into their home, so help from the community is greatly appreciated.
“It is heartbreaking more than anything else,” Erin said. “Getting the stuff back is one thing, but the main thing for us is catching who did this so we can stop them from doing it to the next person.”
Anyone with information about who could have ruined this family’s holidays is encouraged to contact the Montgomerys or the Ottumwa Police Department.
— To see reporter Josh Vardaman's Twitter feed, go to @CourierJosh