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A BALLARAT couple have been left devastated after their home was ransacked earlier this week. Victor Barrantes and Stefi Tello moved to Australia from Colombia six years ago. While initially settling in Brisbane, they have been living in Ballarat for the past two years. Now permanent residents, Ballarat is the place that they call home. It is where they both have jobs, volunteer and share their culture with the community through teaching Spanish and hosting salsa dancing workshops. And they also have plenty of friends. But it was an incident earlier this week, on Monday afternoon, that has left the couple distraught and feeling unsafe within the community. Just last week, Crime Statistics Agency data revealed a jump in residential burglaries in Ballarat last year, with an increase from 148 in 2018 to 218 last year. Read more: What is Ballarat’s biggest crime problem? Victor and Stefi left their home in Golden Point with their friendly little Maltese Terrier Flash to run some errands just before 1.30pm. They were only out of the house for two hours but upon their return, discovered that their home had been completely ransacked. “As soon as we came back to the house, there was mess all over the place, especially in our room. They tried to take as much as they could,” Mr Barrantes said. “We are just devastated, I don’t even know how to describe it. “We never thought something like this would happen to us, especially in Ballarat.” From an old jumper to a pair of thongs, candles, jewellery, perfumes, board games, gym equipment and gardening tools, the thieves did not hold back. They stole Casio and Fossil branded watches, a Sony Playstation 4, a Go Pro Camera, Windows Pro and Samsung Tablets, a black and red Toshiba laptop, black touchscreen Samsung laptop, an MSI gaming computer and two Toshiba hard drives. They also left with the couple’s Columbian passports. While the theft of the passports has been a source of worry for the couple due to security reasons and they have been going through the processes of changing all of their passwords for banking and other websites, the theft of the electronics has impeded on a project they had been working on to establish their own small business. The computers and GoPro were being used by the couple to plan and film videos and recordings for a lifestyle and wellness business they are hoping to kickstart. “A lot of people ask us for salsa lessons because they are really into it. It is something that we want to do for people who want to improve their wellbeing but also to have fun,” Ms Tello said. The business aims to inspire people to be the healthiest versions of themselves and will incorporate both an online platform as well as face-to-face classes. The business will provide high intensity physical training – salsa classes – and healthy vegetarian recipes to participants. The robbery is being investigated by the Ballarat Divisional Response Unit’s Detective Senior Constable Phil Canny. He said the incident was still under investigation, with the stolen property still outstanding. No arrests have been made. He urged anybody who comes across any of the aforementioned property or with information about the incident to contact CrimeStoppers on 1800 333 000 or to contact him directly at the police station on 5338 9255. Have you signed up to The Courier’s variety of news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that’s happening in Ballarat.

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The crime that left this young couple ‘devastated’ | The Courier
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