85-year-old woman 'loses lifetime of memories' in house break-in

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An 85-year-old Detroit woman who has lived in the same 50 years says she is paralyzed with fear. After coming home from church, she found her Fredro Street home ransacked.

"To go home and know that someone you didn't give access to be there (had broken in), you feel violated," said the daughter of the elderly woman.

Her mother says March 25 was like any other Sunday. 

"I got up, had breakfast, went to church for the 8 o'clock mass."

She had gone to Our Lady Queen of Apostles Catholic Church for mass just a few minutes away. The woman, who is too scared to be identified, says she stopped for a couple of minutes to get her mail. Her neighbor then told her he heard her alarm going off.

"When I walked in the door I knew something was wrong because the alarm was pulled off the wall," she said.

The woman's granddaughter says the alarm company called her at 9:07 a.m. and her grandmother walked in just four minutes later.

"They could have been in the house at that time," she said.

A next-door neighbor's surveillance camera captured video of a man walking nearby and two other men later on. One of them was holding a backpack. Detroit police say it appears the men got in through a back window. The homeowner found it broken.

Her family is thankful she's okay and took an extra moment to check the mail that day. 

Inside, the elderly woman's family says the men ripped down her curtains, dug through the drawers in her vanity and emptied her jewelry chest.

"It was mostly 18 karat gold I bought from my two trips to Malta," she said. "Necklaces, bracelets, rings, pendants, stuff my mom had given me."

Nearly all of it is now gone, including watches, a locket and several pairs of earrings the 85-year-old received from her mother, along with her father's cufflinks.

"It makes me feel awful," she said. "It's hard to get over."

Also stolen were necklaces with old Maltese crosses and another charm bracelet, as well as her wedding band. Family members checked pawn shops Wednesday. 

"I hope it doesn't happen to someone else," she said. "People lose a lifetime of memories."