A family came home to find burglars had fled seconds before and left behind suitcases full of their valuables at the back door.
Kate and Sherman Finnemore, both 34, said the thieves had even packed piggy banks belonging to sons Edward, three, and one-year-old Raphael.
The family returned to their home in Finch Close, Uppingham, at about 8.30pm on New Year’s Eve to discover the break-in.
Kate, a reporter at the Mercury’s sister paper, the Northamptonshire Telegraph, took sleeping Raphael upstairs to bed and found her iPad was missing.
The couple then quickly looked around the house and thought nothing had been disturbed.
However, when they went into the kitchen they found their back door wide open with two of their own suitcases piled nearby. The case contained many of their valuables.
The couple rang the police and officers were quickly on the scene.
Kate said: “It was awful. We are very shaken, but we are all right.
“To think of someone in your house, going through all our things is the worse thing ever because you feel safe in your own house.
“It is just devastating, It is not the way to start the New Year.
“We must have just missed them in the house by a matter of seconds. It seems they were in there when we pulled up outside.
“I think if we had been a few seconds later they would have had the lot.
“They had cherry picked everything of value from around the house.
“When we looked through it they had even taken the children’s ’ piggy banks which is pretty vile.”
She praised the action of police who, she said, arrived very quickly.
She said officers went out the back door, spotted footprints and, she believes, they saw someone fleeing the area in a car.
Police dogs were called in to try to track the suspects.
The thieves got away with a small quantity of jewellery.
They got in by breaking the door lock with a screwdriver. Burglars also attempted to break into a neighbouring home on the same day.
The family have now installed more secure locks and window alarms.
Kate joked: “It is like Fort Knox here now.
“It really is worth spending a bit of money to make sure your house is secure.”