Taranaki family offers $100k reward for return of jewellery snatched near owner's ashes

A Taranaki family has doubled to $100,000 the reward they're offering for the return of jewellery and other items with sentimental value stolen in a burglary while the deceased owner's ashes sat in the same room.

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The stolen jewellery’s worth a fair bit and is cherished by the family. Source: Seven Sharp

David and Jennifer Jennings were married for 62 years when Ms Jennings died, with the burglary of their home happening soon after her death.

Mr Jennings told Seven Sharp how the thieves first tried unsuccessfully to jemmy open one window, and worked their way around the outside of the house, eventually breaking in through the couple's bedroom window.

"And all the valuables of Jennifer's were in these draws and they've just cleaned them out," he said, opening the now-empty drawers on a dressing table.

"They would've known that they were robbing a deceased person, because this is Jennifer's ashes," he added, pointing to the ashes box on the dressing table.

"My immediate reaction was as if Jennifer had died all over again."

Among the items taken were pieces handed down through generations.

"She had her own engagement ring, her mother's engagement ring, and her grandmother's ruby ring, lovely ruby ring," Mr Jennings said.

The stolen items were valued at a total of $10,000.

"The value to us is the emotional value, the sentimental value. And you can't put a price on that." 

The police were unable to get any fingerprints, So Mr Jennings offered a reward of $50,000 for the jewellery's return - five times the collection's value.

"We would have thought by now that somebody would have come forward with information, to claim that," he said. 

But a month has passed with no leads. So the family is offering a new reward of $100,000 for the safe return of Ms Jenning's treasures.

Mr Jennings had a message for the thieves.

"You possibly don't appreciate how emotionally attached our family is to what you stole. You won't get much money for it, but to us, it's priceless."

The thieves also took the Jennings' old passports which he is also very upset about because they travelled a lot over the years, and the passports hold a record of some great memories for them.

If you know anything, you can call the police anonymously on 0800 555 111.