YORK — On her way back from a trip to the grocery store, a York woman returned home Thursday afternoon to find Christmas presents for her grandchildren, a birthstone ring belonging to her dead mother and a 100-year-old family heirloom stolen, and the suspect waiting in a van in her driveway, police say.
Susan Fox, 66, said she arrived at her Springlake Road home, buttressing a golf course and Springlake Country Club off Filbert Highway, at about 2 p.m. to find a silver van parked in her driveway, facing the road.
“When I pulled in, I thought that was somebody that needed to see me,” she said.
As she pulled up to the van, she rolled down her window. The driver, a man in his 30s or 40s with a goatee and long sideburns, rolled down his window. He told her: ‘Oh, I’ve got the wrong address,” Fox said. Then, he drove off.
Fox pulled into her garage, unloaded her groceries and decided she better check on her house, she said. She didn’t see anything out of place, but once she stepped into her bedroom, there was an odd odor in the air.
“I smelled a smoky smell,” she said. “We don’t smoke.”
She found Christmas presents --the clothes, not the toys-- for her four grandchildren missing, she said.
“He left some,” she said. “He didn’t take all of them. He took most of the clothing,” worth about $200.
She also found boxes housing several pieces of “sentimental” antique jewelry gone.
That jewelry includes her late mother’s opal birthstone ring. Fox’s mother died Oct. 10 just two weeks shy of her 90th birthday. Fox also realized her grandmother’s wedding ring was stolen. The ring, encrusted with a garnet stone, is at least 100 years old, Fox said.
Police list an antique diamond engagement ring, a pearl necklace, costume jewelry and antique gold with pearls as other items taken from Fox’s home, the report states. On Friday, Fox said she realized later Thursday night that the thieves also took her NOOK tablet.
“Detectives thought maybe they would have taken more, but the fact that I showed up might have stopped them,” she said, adding that she’s not sure if the stranger in her driveway was accompanied by a second person.
Thursday afternoon, Fox called police. She told officers she found both side entrance doors to her house unlocked and open, though they are always closed and secured, according to a York police report. Detectives found a side screen window broken, determining that to be the “point of entry,” the report states. It appeared that the suspects tried to put the screen windows back on to make it look like no one had been inside.
A K9 unit surveyed the area in search of a possible second suspect, police said. No scent trail was uncovered. Police estimate that the stolen items were valued at $6,100.
By Friday, police had made no arrests or identified any suspects in connection with the burglary, said York Police Chief Andy Robinson.
Fox and her husband had been buying Christmas clothes for their grandchildren --two boys and two girls, whose ages range from 3 months to 6 years old-- for several weeks and stocking them in the bedroom.
Losing the gifts and jewelry “kind of puts a damper on everything,” she said. “It makes you sick to your stomach that someone would steal like that.”