Jewellery collector loses all

2011-10-06 00:00

“I HYSTERICALLY screamed and I still do even though the incident happened weeks ago.”

This was a desperate cry by Vigee Padayachee (61) from Community Building flats in Church Street, who lost a lifetime’s worth of jewellery which she says was valued at R1 million on September 9.

This salon owner told The Witness that she started collecting jewellery from the age of 16.

“I was in my salon on the ground floor and when I went upstairs to my flat around 4.40 pm I noticed that my lounge window was opened, that’s when I started screaming ‘the window is opened’,” she said.

When she peeped through the window, her furniture and appliances were still intact.

But she got the shock of her life when she walked into her bedroom and discovered all her jewellery compartments lying on the floor and on her bed. “I just screeched”.

Every valuable piece of hers had vanished and the thieves only left her with a few pearls.

Padayachee suspects that the perpetrator sneaked through a small kitchen window after she left it open for fresh air and then used the lounge window to exit.

She said she has always felt “as safe as she could” after living in the block of flats for 21 years.

Padayachee locks her eight-door wardrobe, where she kept her jewellery, with chains, but the thieves managed to crack it open.

“Only my husband, younger sister, my maid and I knew about my safekeeping”.

She told The Witness she had diamond and gold necklaces, charms, rings, sterling silver chains, hand chains, bracelets, chokers, Kruger and two Natura Elephant coins.

The most expensive piece was a charm bracelet worth about R60 000 and she is still paying instalments on some of the goods.

“These were my investments, my life’s savings. I have no children but have a wonderful family and I thought one day each member would get at least one piece when I’m dead.

“You can’t replace what I lost,” she explained, especially after she cancelled her insurance two years ago after it failed to compensate her after her salon was broken into.

On her wedding day, her mother presented her with a souvenir which was also stolen.

“This is my second week of fasting and I’m praying for a miracle. But I’ve learnt a lesson: never to be a fool and store your valuables in one place.”

The police have confirmed a case of housebreaking and theft. No arrests have been made as yet.

• gabisile.ngcobo@witness.co.za

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