THOMASVILLE — The elderly Barwick woman working in her North Cedar Street yard midafternoon Monday had no idea the wedding rings she received 65 years ago were being stolen inside.

The 85-year-old widow’s friends urged her to report the burglary to law enforcement.

While working in her yard about 3 p.m., the woman was approached by a pregnant female who asked for money to feed her starving children, a Thomas County Sheriff’s Office incident report shows.

The woman made many unsuccessful attempts to obtain money before giving up after about 30 minutes.

A man with a limp walked toward the woman, and the pregnant female said the male needed a ride.

The victim told deputies the two got into an older-model, dark-red van.

When the woman went back into her house later, her platinum diamond engagement ring and platinum wedding band were gone.

The woman told deputies she did not know the rings’ value, but she has had them since her 1941 marriage.

A gold necklace with a locket containing photographs of the victim and her late husband also is missing, along with another gold necklace. A diamond ring valued at $1,300 also is missing.

The woman told lawmen she did not lock her back door when she went outside, because she was going to be in her yard the entire time.

Two sheriff’s office investigators met with the victim Wednesday morning. An investigation is under way into the identity of the woman and the limping man.

Pascal Autrey, acting supervisor of the sheriff’s office criminal investigations division, said anyone living alone — or at home alone — should lock their doors while involved in outdoor activities.

“That is particularly true this time of year when a lot of people are moving about and know you’re outside,” Autrey said.

Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 220.

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