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Dublin: 5 °C Monday 18 November, 2019
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A love letter stolen from an 82-year-old widow was found and returned to her

Breda’s (82) letter from her late husband was in her handbag when it was stolen yesterday in Ballincollig.

Image: Shutterstock/Africa Studio

THE BALLINCOLLIG COMMUNITY have banded together to achieve a “fantastic result” for an 82-year-old woman whose love letter from her late husband was stolen by a bag snatcher.

The letter is over 60-years-old and was written by Breda’s husband Donal when they were courting, shortly before she was married at the age of 20.

The Neil Prendeville Show on RedFM today heard from Emer Cassidy, branch manager of the local AIB, who wanted to spread the word of the elderly lady’s stolen handbag.

“The lady has been ill for some time,” Cassidy explained. “It was her first outing after a number of months, she needed to get some items from the local Dunnes Stores and her friend took her.”

After buying a number of items, she put down her shopping bag along with her handbag to have a look at a saucepan and “it was just taken from her in a flash”.

Inside her handbag, along with cash, cards and keys, was the love letter from her husband as well as photographs of them together and some other sentimental items.

Breda was left very shaken and upset by what happened so the local community put the word out in the hope that either the bag would be found, or the person who took it would return it.

This evening, the good news is that her bag along with all of its contents have been returned to Breda.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Cassidy said that local gardaí “went over and above the call of duty” to help Breda.

After checking CCTV and using it to trace the woman who took the bag, they followed her all the way back to her home where the bag and all of its contents were recovered.

“There was a huge response from the community,” Cassidy said. “She’s got everything back, there was so much in the bag from the letter to everything else, everything but the kitchen sink.”

She went on to say that she’s spoken to Breda a few times today and that she’s “elated” to have her things returned to her.

Cassidy said that the effect of stretched garda resources has been seen in the town, but that today served as an example of how communities working together can help.

“These things are so traumatic. For this woman she just felt so violated because it was her personal items that were taken, particularly the letter which I’ve seen and is beautiful.”

“It’s just a good news story.”

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Rónán Duffy

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