A two-year-old girl is an unintended casualty of vandals who targeted a building in Wollongong’s CBD at the weekend.
Evie-Grace Blatman’s family is waiting to see if there will be any lasting damage to her eyesight, after she came into contact with glass from a deliberately shattered window.
The toddler went under general anaesthetic to remove the glass after a stranger hurled a large piece of concrete through the window of her Kenny Street, Wollongong home on Saturday night.
Evie-Grace lives with her parents in the upstairs level of and Wollongong Yoga Centre, owned by her mother Alexis Garnaut-Miller.
The family was asleep in the studio-style apartment when the window shattered about 11pm Saturday.
“We just woke up to this absolute, God-almighty smash,” Ms Garnaut-Miller told the Mercury.
“It sounded like something exploded.
“There was glass everywhere – paper-thin slivers of glass. The window just smashed to smitherines – it was bizarre.”
Throughout the night, with assistance from O’Brien Glass’s industrial equipment, the family swept, vacuumed and mopped the property repeatedly.
But when Evie-Grace awoke about 5am, it was clear it hadn’t been possible to collect all the glass.
“Her little hands must have touched her eye and she got glass it her eye,” Ms Garnaut-Miller said.
“It was moving around and it lacerated all underneath the eyelid.
“Lucky it didn’t go behind the eye. We’re hoping she won’t have any permanent damage.”
An ophthalmologist was called in to treat Evie-Grace at Wollongong Hospital on Sunday.
Ms Garnaut-Miller said her daughter’s spirits had taken a hit in the aftermath.
“She’s usually a happy child, but now she’s quite flat and distressed, and for me that’s the worst outcome. I spoke to someone who had an eye laceration and they said it was one of the most painful things they have ever experienced.
“My message to the people that did this would be: wake up and learn from the unintended consequences for this unnecessary destruction of property.”
The matter has been reported to Wollongong police.
The family found piece of concrete about a quarter the size of a besser brick inside their home. They later discovered marks on the reinforced lower-level glass, and believe thieves attempted to gain entry there before taking out the upper floor window in frustration.
“It’s an industrial area – it doesn’t look residential, and I don’t think they realised anyone was upstairs.”
Ms Garnaut-Miller is appealing for anyone with CCTV of the incident to contact Wollongong Police.
Her account of the event, posted to Facebook, has been shared hundreds of times.
“A lot of businesses have reached out and empathised and have said they are feeling frustrated about a lot of these things happening,” she said.
“There’s a general sense that it’s a result of alcohol and drug use, especially from the clubs on Wednesday and Saturday nights.
Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000.