A Baptist pastor and his wife watched on in horror as thieves drove off in their two family cars after breaking into their home in Crumlin last week.
At around 4.45am last Thursday, Barrie Clingen and wife Jeanette awoke to the sound of a car engine running outside their house at Laurelvale.
When Barrie got up and looked outside from his two storey house, he saw both cars being driven through a gap in a broken fence at Cidercourt Road.
The thieves had broken into the family’s home and stolen their four-year-old Ford Galaxy people carrier and a silver Toyota Corolla.
Barrie ran downstairs in an attempt to give chase to the criminals, but the thieves had locked the front door.
By the time he got out the back door the thieves and both cars were already away. They’d also made off with laptops and an iPad.
It’s understood the same gang of thieves also targeted a number of other houses in the area on the same morning, making off with tools and a television.
Jeanette described the incident as a terrifying ordeal for the entire family.
The couple live in the house with their four daughters, Rachel, Sarah - who is currently on an exchange holiday to South Africa - Victoria and Naomi.
The incident happened on a day that should have been a celebration for the family. Daughter Sarah, a pupil at Antrim Grammar, received excellent GCSE results - five A*s, three As and a B.
Police and forensics arrived promptly to interview the family and it wasn’t long before they were told the Corolla, minus the number plates, had been found near the Park Centre in Belfast.
The following day the Ford Galaxy was also located.
Jeanette said: “The police came out and we have nothing but praise for them. It was the whole inconvenience of not having vehicles.
“We were left with no cars. I could not go to work and we had to borrow a vehicle to go to Antrim Grammar to get Sarah’s results.
“To think that thieves felt that it is just alright to come into our home and just steal our goods. If we had not had the Ford Galaxy returned we would have found it difficult to replace it.
“I cannot understand why anyone would do this.”
She continued: “We moved to Crumlin eight years ago and we love living here. We received and continue to receive a lot of support from neighbours and friends in the community, which has been much appreciated.”
In a Facebook post on Friday, a spokesperson for the PSNI in Antrim said: “We had a busy day dealing with a string of burglaries in the Laurelvale area. CSI were out to investigate the scene and evidence left behind by the intruders.
“Please make sure all doors and windows are locked at night. Make home security a part of your night time routine. Think from the outside in, check your vehicles are locked.
“Check your front and back doors and windows. Close curtains and blinds so that your valuables are out of sight.
“If you have seen anything suspicious or anything out of place near to the Laurelvale area contact the police in Antrim.
“I’m sure we can appreciate the serious impact this has on a young family with kids being left without two family cars and having their computers stolen.”
Anyone who has any information about the burglary is asked to contact the police on 101 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.