After losing a mother and two grandfathers to cancer, a St Albans couple thought their misfortune was over.
But when Georgia Whipps, 26, and her husband Shayden, 28, returned home from work on February 4 to find several household items missing, it was a different story.
Rummaged drawers and piles of clothing on the floor were also a dead giveaway that their home had been broken into.
A camera, two speakers and a laptop were among the items taken – but the most sentimental was Mrs Whipps’ jewellery box.
Inside it she held everything her mother Carol had left to her before she died of pancreatic cancer in her 50s in 2017.
It included a necklace with her mother’s fingerprint that was made at the funeral home.
It also contained vintage gold and pearl items which her mother gave her to wear at her wedding in November 2017 – three weeks after she died.
Both Mr and Mrs Whipps’ grandfathers also died over the last year. They said the personal items that were taken in the burglary were the most valuable.
“I don’t care about all the other stuff, just the things that money can’t replace. That’s stuff we will never be able to get back,” said Mrs Whipps.
“It’s stuff that no one else is going to appreciate,” she said.
Mr Whipps works as an events and marketing co-ordinator at PGG Wrightson and Mrs Whipps is the head teacher at BestStart pre-school.
The “house proud” couple used their entire savings to purchase and renovate their villa two years ago.
They write a lifestyle blog called Mooch Style, which gives tips and advice to other homeowners.
“We work so hard to provide content which inspires others to do the same thing and then we get burgled. You just feel attacked and invaded,” said Mr Whipps.
“For someone to just completely come in and violate it really takes away the love you have for your home because someone uninvited has been in it.”
Mr Whipps said the burglars came in through a window that had been pried open.
He said their boxer dog Frankie must have been asleep during the burglary as their neighbours did not hear barking. The couple later learned two other properties and two cars in the area had been burgled about noon.
Police investigated the property the following day and all that was found was the print of an arm on a box which determined the burglar was male. To make matters worse for the couple, they are battling to get insurance for the stolen items.
“It just sucks,” said Mr Whipps.
For now, they have installed a security alarm and cameras.
“If you have those things you’re not only protecting your own property you’re protecting people in your area, it’s all about your neighbourhood,” said Mr Whipps.