The Free Press, Mankato, MN

April 10, 2013

Residential burglary cleans out family's heirloom jewelry

By Dan Nienaber
Free Press Staff Writer

MANKATO — A burglary that netted thousands of dollars worth of jewelry has left a family feeling violated and stung by the loss of the missing heirlooms.

Sometime between March 20 and March 22 a burglar or burglars broke into Marilyn Ringheim’s residence on Lori Lane. Along with the items often stolen during burglaries — such as a couple of televisions and a DVD player — a $38,000 anniversary ring, a $12,000 diamond pendant and $600 in $2 bills also were taken. Several other rings and a gold necklace bring the value of the stolen jewelry alone to more than $60,000.

Ringheim said she moved from her house to an assisted-living facility about a year ago, but her family checks the house regularly. The burglary was discovered by one of her daughters, which led to a family meeting at Ringheim’s new residence. It started with tears.

“The kids all sat around on the floor in front of me and cried,” she said. “I told them to relax; I understood. They thought I would be very upset. I was sad about the loss, but I told them it wasn’t their fault.”

Most of the jewelry was purchased by Marilyn’s late husband, Loren, a former elementary teacher she described as “sentimental.” She had hoped to pass the items down to her children and grandchildren.

Her son, Dr. Garth Ringheim of New Jersey, said his mother is taking the theft better than expected, but the burglary was still difficult for the family.

“She’s a tough lady, but it’s disastrous for us,” he said. “It was family jewelry that our father had given her over the years. It had sentimental value as well as financial value.”

Police have no leads in their investigation, said Cmdr. Dan Schisel of the Mankato Department of Public Safety. Officers are hoping to hear from anyone who has information about the missing jewelry.

Garth Ringheim said the family is hoping the stolen items can be recovered even though nearly two weeks have passed since the burglary. He also said, as a burglary victim, he now recommends Mankato residents think about security for their homes. He said his mother’s house is “wired to the hilt” now, but it wasn’t when he was there last.

“I was there four days after the burglary and it was unnerving knowing what had happened,” he said. “It’s a major violation of your premises. They don’t just rob you of your jewelry, they rob you of your personal well-being and your sense of safety.”

Marilyn Ringheim said the burglar or burglars entered her house through a back door. A window was broken and someone apparently reached in and turned a doorknob. The house wasn’t messed up, either, which suggests someone knew where to look, she said.

Her son said he suspects it took awhile to get everything out of the house.

“It wasn’t just a simple snatch and grab,” Garth Ringheim said. “So chances are they were casing the joint for awhile.”