When a young, neatly-dressed man smiles at you and says hello, it’s unlikely your first impression would be that he’s a robber.
One Dudley Park resident has been left devastated after her home was robbed while she was gardening in her front yard.
The crook walked straight past retiree Sandy Austin just after taking most of her prized possessions, including a wedding ring from her late husband.
Living in a unit complex Ms Austin said she often saw people come and go down a shared driveway.
Ms Austin said she didn’t think twice when she saw a tall, slim man aged between 18-25 near her home.
Believing him to be a relative of her neighbour, Ms Austin greeted the man as he passed by.
“I actually said hello to him,” she said.
“He smiled and watched me, watching him walk away,” she said.
It was moments later she realised she had been robbed.
The theft occurred on February 9, between 9.45-11am.
It was the third time thieves had taken her wedding ring.
The previous two times she was robbed was more than 12 years ago when she had lived in the Perth suburb of Ferndale.
She said having to continue replacing her wedding ring was ridiculous and hoped that her bad-luck had run out.
Ms Austin said while she had wished she said something to the man, she was just thankful he didn’t attack her.
“It could have gone two ways. You don’t know what would have happened,” she said.
“I was shaking like a damn leaf afterwards.”
A phone, tablet, five necklaces, seven rings and about 20 pairs of earrings were taken from her bedroom and office.
She couldn’t put a figure on the monetary value of her jewellery collection but said the pieces had significant sentimental value to her.
“To them it’s nothing, they’re just trying to get a few dollars so they can get their next fix,” she said.
She said the crook must have entered the property from her rear door and exited over a colourbond fence, leaving marks from his shoe along its edge.
Since the incident Ms Austin has installed advanced security measures to deter and catch any potential thieves.
Ms Austin said the lengths thieves were going to these days was frightening.
She said not feeling secure in her own home was a “dreadful” experience and urged people to remember to lock up and to install security systems.
“Be aware of people walking by your house,” she said.
“You’ve got to know your neighbours and look out for them.”
She also said that it would be a good idea for people to take photos of prized possessions like jewellery or keep receipts for insurance purposes.