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Christmas grinch thieves leave family heartbroken

Most of young Aaliyah Rowlins (front) Christmas presents were stolen when thieves broke into Nick Paynter and Michaela Rowlin's car.
Most of young Aaliyah Rowlins (front) Christmas presents were stolen when thieves broke into Nick Paynter and Michaela Rowlin's car. Ali Kuchel

JUST two weeks before Christmas Michaela Rowlins and Nick Paynter are scraping together money to re-purchase presents after their car was ransacked in Toowoomba.

The Gatton couple had purchased all their Christmas presents and were staying at a friend's place in Toowoomba on their way back from Cambooya when their car was broken into.

They had wrapped presents for Michaela's three-year-old daughter Aaliyah, along with gifts for their entire family.

But on Monday night, heartless thieves opened presents and stole numerous gifts along with Mr Paynter's laptop and Xbox 1.

"I couldn't believe it, I just broke down in tears," Ms Rowlins said.

"It's hard because we bought those presents on a tough budget and we had to limit ourselves to certain things.

"What would someone possibly want with presents for other children?"

The thieves also took new underwear, Mr Paynter's shaving kit and his wallet.

Ms Rowlins and Mr Paynter were notified about the break-in at 6.30am by a neighbour, who found Christmas wrapping across his front lawn.

In a heartless act thieves in Toowoomba have stolen wrapped Christmas presents destined for children: http://ow.ly/VDpoX

Posted by The Chronicle on Tuesday, 8 December 2015

One car door was unlocked and Ms Rowlins said the thieves still targeted the car although the vehicle was inside their friend's property.

"We had everything but our blankets and pillows in the car," Ms Rowlins said.

Mr Paynter said he was disappointed in what people had taken from a child.

"This is our first Christmas where we were really trying to get something for everyone," Mr Paynter said.

"They rummaged through the car to find stuff … all the photos on my laptop can't be replaced, they're just memories."

Ms Rowlins said police had been at the scene to take fingerprints and had collected a cigarette butt.

Toowoomba Police Sergeant Susan Fort said an officer had been assigned to investigate the incident.

She reminded residents not to keep valuables in cars and to keep vehicles locked and secured.

If you'd like to help the family go to: gofundme.com/ejdwuzre

Topics:  christmas, gatton, theives, toowoomba


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