Family in fear after thief ransacks home, steals $108k
A GOLD Coast family have spent the past three years living in terror after a burglar ransacked their home stealing about $108,000 in cash and $18,000 in jewellery.
The family, who asked to remain anonymous due to their fear of another attack, were left in shock yesterday when they learned their thief would be out of prison in December this year.
"It makes you wonder why everyone doesn't do it, if that's the punishment," the woman said.
Joshua James Brown pleaded guilty in the Southport District Court yesterday to entering premises to commit an indictable offence and money laundering.
Brown, 25, was sentenced to three years prison with parole release on December 18.
The court was told the Gaven family had gone on holidays for Easter in April 2017 when Brown broke in, smashing three windows.
He ransacked the place, looking through files, throwing clothes around, and bringing garden tools inside.
Brown used a key and opened the safe where he stole $108,000 cash and $18,000 in jewellery.
He took part of that cash to buy a second-hand Toyota Kluger and used the rest for expenses such as rent and buying items from a sporting goods store.
The family watched the court proceedings form the Southport courtroom while Brown appeared via video link from prison.
Outside court, the woman told the Bulletin that the family had not gone on holidays since the burglary.
"We can't go away on holidays anymore because we are scared that it's going to happen again," she said.
They lock the doors, even while at home.
"My kids get annoyed because I lock them out even when I'm at home," she said.
Among the jewellery items stolen were family heirlooms, including a wedding ring which was to be passed down and a crucifix which was about 100 years old.
The woman said she no longer goes outside at night, even just to hang out the washing, because she is scared what might happened.
As for finances, the family has not recovered.
"We never will," she said.
Judge Catherine Muir ordered the Toyota Kluger be sold and the family get the proceeds but the money will not come close to what was stolen.
During her sentencing remarks Judge Muir commented the home had been left "ransacked in a state of disarray".
"It shows total disregard to other people, for their property and their home," she said.
"You invaded someone's private property … your actions have impacted their lives, causing them to be anxious and to be living in fear," she said.
Judge Muir said Brown had no prospects of paying any restitution.
"This places them in a very difficult financial position," she said.
The court was told Brown was one of 16 siblings whose parents had been drug users.
Brown began using drugs at 12.
Originally published as Family in fear after thief ransacks home, steals $108k