Thieves target jewelry designer: 'It's more than I can handle'

SEATTLE - A local jewelry designer needs help from the public after car prowlers stole her most precious items.

It happened in the Queen Anne neighborhood - and the victim is now learning from her mistake that cost her thousands of dollars.

Britta Ambauen makes a living selling jewelry, but fewer items are on display this weekend after someone stole them.

"It's still fresh. I'm still really upset about it," she says.

Ambauen's vehicle was parked in the 100 block of Highland Drive - and was loaded with most of her jewelry. She would normally bring the items inside, but it was getting late and she was tired.

"In the morning I came out all happy, talking with my parents, having breakfast ... got in the front seat and felt a breeze and thought, 'I left my window open,'" she says. "And turned around, and it was shattered glass everywhere and nothing."

Ambauen estimates the thief or thieves took off with nearly $40,000 worth of jewelry and supplies.

"I almost don't want to add it all up too carefully because it's more than I can handle," she says.

The items were packed in vintage trunks. So far, it's the only item she's recovered.

A woman found the trunk on a Ballard street, broken apart and rifled through. But inside she found Ambauen's business card and immediately called.

"I had probably 50 rings, every different style," says Ambauen.

Each piece and every detail on that missing jewelry is unique - handmade with love. And Ambauen wants those items returned.

"Time and energy's lost, but I can rebuild. And I will, and I'll learn from it and be stronger for it," she says.

The break-in happened some time between 10:30 p.m. Thursday and 8 a.m. Friday.

If you see any of the victim's missing items, call Seattle police.