independent

Friday 18 April 2014

Thieves stole priceless watches engraved for sons left by late father

Dying father had watches engraved the week before he died

Stephen Carroll with his sons Senan, right and Keelan. Picture credit; Damien Eagers/ Evening Herald  20/1/2014
Stephen Carroll with his sons Senan, right and Keelan. Photo: Damien Eagers/ Evening Herald

A heartfelt plea has gone out to the callous thieves who stole watches left by a dying father for his two young sons “to give them back.”

The Omega watches have no resale value whatsoever because they were specially engraved by Stephen Carroll (38) for his sons the week before he died.

“They are the only tangible gift Stephen left for his eldest sons and they are just heart-broken that they have been stolen,” said Stephen’s sister in law Kerrie Carroll.

His family has appealed to the thieves to “just give them back. Drop them to a church, to the gardai or leave them somewhere they will be found but just give them back. There will be no questions asked.”

Stephen and his wife Breffnie (39) have three sons, Seenan (10),  Keelan (8) and Roan (4) and the watches were given to Stephen for his 21st and 30th birthdays.

Stephen discovered 18 months ago that he was seriously ill with kidney cancer and spent a lot of time thinking about what special momentos to leave for his beloved children.

“He wanted to leave something for the boys to have and they were to each be given a watch when they too reach 21,” explained Kerrie.

Stephen passed away last November but, “He lived long enough to see the engraving, it was what he wanted. He wanted to have the engraving done and he thought a long time about it” said Kerrie.

She revealed that the engraving was, to Stephen’s delight, done the week before he passed away last November.

Stephen and his family run the well known Carroll newsagents and Hallmark shops in Dundalk, Drogheda, Monaghan and Navan.

He is from Blackrock, county Louth and the watches were being kept by his parents Ian and Anita in their family home in Blackrock.

They were away from the house and sometime last Friday thieves forced their way in and amongst items they stole were the watches in their presentation boxes.

“We are all devastated that this has happened.  The watches have no resale value at all because of the unique engravings on them. To us they have sentimental value that we could not put a price on. This is very hard on all of the family especially coming so soon after Stephen’s death,” added Kerrie.

One is an Omega Constellation model which is engraved on the back with 'To Keelan love Daddy x' while the other is an Omega Seamaster and is engraved 'To Senan love Daddy x'.

She said, “we are hoping that someone, somewhere has a conscience and returns these watches to an utterly devastated family. These were the only tangible memories we have of  him.”

In their efforts to locate and return the watches the family is using the media, including social media, to highlight details of the watches in case they are offered for sale somewhere.

Gardai in Blackrock are investigating the theft. Gda Sgt Vinnie O’Connell said, “we would appeal for information from anybody who saw anything suspicious in the Wallace’s road area of Blackrock, near the junction with the Ard na Mara estate, between 11 o clock on Friday morning and 5 o’ clock on Saturday to contact us.”

“Hopefully whoever did this will show some sort of remorse and leave them back for them somewhere,” he added.

Anyone with information is asked to contact gardai in Dundalk on 042-9335577.

- Elaine Keogh

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