THE reward for the safe return of two watches that a dying dad had bequeathed to his young sons has been increased to €5,000 after they were stolen in a Dundalk burglary last month.
The two engraved Omega watches were owned by Stephen Carroll (38), who passed away last November following a battle with kidney cancer.
He had received them as gifts for his 21st and 30th birthdays, and had them specially engraved for his young sons Senan (10) and Keelan (8) just a week before he died.
His family were left in shock when the watches were stolen during a raid on Stephen's parents' house in Blackrock in Co Louth last month.
Despite a media campaign there has been no sign of the watches, and the family are appealing once more for whoever took them to have a heart.
"There will be no questions asked, all we are looking for is the watches, we still hold out hope," said Stephen's sister-in-law Kerrie Carroll.
One of the watches is an Omega Constellation with a silver face.
On the back the message, "To Keelan love Daddy x" is engraved.
The second watch is an Omega Seamaster with a blue face. Engraved on the back is, "To Senan love Daddy x".
Stephen's parents were out of their house when the burglars raided it.
"The watches are of no resale value because they have been engraved with the personal messages to Stephen's sons," said Kerrie. "There had been some rumours going around that they had been found but they are not true, there has been no sign of them.
"We have been heartened by the response from the public, and the story seems to have touched a lot of hearts.
And the Twitter messages were sent all over the world with the help of some big names, but still we have had no leads despite everyone's best efforts."
She once again urged whoever took the watches to leave them somewhere where they would be found – in a church, or with a priest, or in a shop, or even through the post. Leave them anywhere but please, don't throw them away," Kerrie pleaded.
Stephen found out 18 months ago that he was seriously ill with kidney cancer and spent a lot of time thinking of special gifts he could leave for his sons.
"He finally settled on the watches and we did a rush job to get them engraved just days before he died, and he was delighted when he saw them," explained Kerrie.