Car theft leaves family stunned
TANYA and Jeremy Cone had plans to buy a block of land to build their dream home.
Working five jobs between them, as well as raising six children under nine, this hard-working family would funnel every leftover penny into a savings account, determined to make their dream a reality.
That was until the police rocked up at their door on Sunday, August 18.
Their 2004 white Toyota Prado had been stolen from their Powell St driveway in broad daylight and found near Tabulam smashed and smeared in blood.
While it looks like one of the offenders made a rookie error and left their laminated birth certificate in the car, no charges have yet been laid.
The driver's seat was found covered in blood and it is thought the driver could have been badly injured.
But what rattles Mrs Cone most is not the huge challenge of trying to get kids to and from school and to sporting events with one five-seater sedan, or the fact she will need a new car, it's the cold hard possibility that they won't get a cent from the insurance company, and would have to forgo their savings to pay for a new car and start all over again.
"They're still going through the claims, but because they (thieves) had a key, I don't know if I can get insurance," Mrs Cone said.
The family's other car, a sedan, was broken into a few months ago, but with only a few dollars taken, they did not think anything of it.
Now, they have a hunch the spare Prado key was stolen from the sedan and the thieves had been watching the house ever since - waiting to pounce.
"It's either that or they stole it from inside my house," Mrs Cone said.
The Grafton couple has been told to sit tight for what could take up to eight weeks to find out whether they are covered.
"It's just so much stress," Mrs Cone said.
"Now we're probably not going to be able to own a house and we'll have to start from the beginning again."
She said she feared for her children's safety.
"I can't sleep at night now when Jeremy is on nightshift because I'm scared," Mrs Cone said.
"If they can steal a car, what else can they take?
"I never used to lock my back door, but now I always do.
"Our town is not innocent. I don't feel safe here anymore."
Mrs Cone said in a way she felt sorry for the people who stole her car.