A Nanaimo senior arrived home from a day of selling Christmas trees to discover a Grinch had paid her home a visit.
Judy Woodruff, mother of blues musician David Gogo, came home Saturday to find her bedroom had been ransacked.
“It took me a minute because the only room that was really messy was my bedroom,” said Woodruff, 71. “I came home a little bit earlier than I usually do and I think they probably took off when I drove up, because the rest of the rooms were fine. Just my bedroom was completely trashed.”
Woodruff said every drawer plus her closet had been torn apart, even her hope chest that she’s owned for 50 years.
“And I have nothing, really,” she said. “I’m poor. I live on my pensions and I never worked anywhere, so that’s only old age and Canada pension.”
Woodruff has lived on the property in the 800 block of Nanaimo River Road since 2016 after she returned from Courtenay after her husband from her second marriage died.
A bag holding two urns containing her husband’s and stepson’s ashes was also pulled out of her bedroom closet, but the urns were not broken open.
“They dumped the bag, but the urns were still intact,” she said.
Woodruff said some jewelry she’d inherited was taken and a number of pieces of First Nations art were taken.
“Other than that, well, it took me three hours to clean it up yesterday, but that’s OK. It could’ve been worse,” she said.
Woodruff was previously married to Mike Gogo, of Gogo’s Sawmill and Christmas Tree Farm, for 26 years. Mike said thefts from homes leave a lingering sense of insecurity and he suspects the culprit is someone who lives nearby who has allegedly been committing thefts at a number of properties in the area.
“It’s a real invasion of your privacy … and for a woman alone, like that, that can leave [someone feeling] paranoid too, so there’s that,” he said.
Gogo has, so far, not offered a reward for the capture of a suspect as he did in 2018 after a violent home invasion in Nanaimo when he offered $5,000 for information leading to an arrest or $6,000 if the suspect was delivered to his mill. That offer resulted in Gogo being awoken early one morning to find a man chained to the front of one of the mill’s two front-end loaders used to move logs and lumber around the mill site.
“I’ll just keep my ear to the ground and get my chains out,” Gogo said. “We’ve go two loaders. No waiting.”
Woodruff said she hopes talking about her break-in will prompt other people to be careful about securing their properties.
“I really [hope] by making this public other people are going to double-check their doors,” she said. “All of mine were locked and, technically, anybody could come through, they could just break a window, but still, it might deter somebody.”