IT’S a West Tamworth institution; each Christmas, grandfather-of-two Morris Miller sits perched on his porch in a Santa suit doling out candy canes to delighted kids.
But in a perverse twist, Mr Miller and his wife Annette have found themselves the target of a Christmas Day Grinch, who kicked in the back door of their Mathews St home on Wednesday and went on a stealing rampage. Stolen during the callous break-in were Mr Miller’s two most prized possessions – World War II medals awarded to his late father, Stan, and a signed 2006 Canterbury Bulldogs jersey.
The Christmas Day theft comes amid mounting community concern over the break-and-enter rate across Tamworth, with reports of vigilante groups emerging in some suburbs.
Mr Miller said the daylight robbery, which occured while he and his wife were at a relative’s place for Christmas lunch, had left him furious and feeling violated.
“It’s a horrible feeling to know some bugger has come into your house on Christmas Day,” Mr Miller said.
“I can never replace the medals my father earned – I can get replicas but it’s not the same.
“The Bulldogs jersey was also hugely important to me. I went to my first game when I was six and I’m a real fanatic.”
The thief also ransacked drawers in the Millers’ bedroom, a sight Mrs Miller said made her feel physically sick.
A neighbour reported seeing a man knocking at the Millers’ door at about 2.30pm and then run around the side of the house.
“We should be able to live peacefully without the fear of lowlifes wandering around targeting us,” Mr Miller said.
“They have no respect for other people.
“They want what we have but aren’t prepared to work to get it.
“We’ve worked for what we have but they’ll go out and rob anybody just so they have money to stick something up their nose.”
He issued a warning to residents to remain extra vigilant about home security.
The suspect is described as a Caucasian male in his early 20s, of medium build, fair skin, with reddish-brown hair and wearing a grey t-shirt, greyish-blue shorts and thongs at the time.
Anyone with information about the break-in or the property stolen should contact Tamworth Police on 6768 2999 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.