Columbia City Family Burglarized After Already Dealing with House Fire

UPDATE 11/20: According to a post by this same neighbor on the Columbia City Facebook page, the house was hit once-again last night. That’s one fire, two robberies. 


Original Story from 11/19:

Q13 has coverage of an upsetting story that many neighbors first heard about on the Columbia City Facebook page, where a local family had their home burglarized after recently having to move out to make repairs due to a house fire. Q13’s Tina Patel reached out to the family through the Facebook page and reports with the following. To watch the coverage, click here.


First their home was damaged by fire. Now it’s been ransacked by burglars.

“It’s trashed,” says Tana Whidbey, as she tries to figure out what thieves stole from her Columbia City home. It’s hard to tell because of the mess they left behind.

“Everything was all over the floors, all the drawers had been emptied out onto the floor.”

Whidbey and her family had temporarily moved out of their home in September, after a fire in their kitchen.

“It did enough damage because of the way it burned, they have to restore the whole kitchen now.”

They had been checking on the house almost every day. But they didn’t make it over this weekend.

“Yesterday, my husband came by the house on his way to pick up the kids from school. He looked in the front window and saw that our TV was gone and that there was a huge mess in the living room.”

Police think the thieves pried open a window in the downstairs bedroom. It appears they took their time in the house, going through every room and taking everything of value.

“The TV was right there, then we had the DVD player, and the Wii and all that stuff in here,” says Whidbey, as she points out some of what’s missing.

The thieves even emptied their freezer, and drank from their liquor cabinet.

“They took the empty bottles and stuck them into the couch cushions.”

Whidbey says she’s glad her family wasn’t home when the crooks broke in. But she says it’s still hard to explain to her kids what happened, and why some of their clothes and games are now missing.

“It makes me sad. What kind of situation is somebody in that they feel like is OK to do this, or that they need to do this?”

She’s heard about other burglaries in the area. She’s now questioning whether she wants to continue to call this neighborhood home.

“It feels like it’s spiraling into something worse than I’ve ever seen before, with the amount of violence, the break-ins, the gunshots that we’re hearing regularly right now. It’s definitely affected the neighborhood.”

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