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Family Hopes Thieves Return Urn Containing Grandma's Ashes [UPDATED]
A Glendale family is desperately hoping the thieves who targeted their van have the heart to return what they stole: An urn containing their grandmother's cremated remains.
The vehicle was parked on the street Sunday night outside the family's home when it was burglarized. Police suspect a team of thieves were checking for unlocked doors when they happened upon the van, and helped themselves to a purse, some jewelry, and an 8-by-11-inch navy blue leather urn holding the ashes of the late LaRocco family matriarch Lois.
Lois, 87, died August 28 after a battle with Alzheimer's, reports KTLA.
"They must've thought (the urn) had jewelry or booze or something, but it was grandma," one relative told NBC Los Angeles. "We want her back."
Another relative offered a no strings attached solution for the urn's return: “Just drop it somewhere. It’s not a hard item to find. Just leave it on any corner, store, parking lot, somewhere. We’ll find it.”
A memorial service for Lois LaRocco has been put on hold as a result of the theft.
Hopefully ashes snatching is not a crime experiencing an uptick in SoCal, however Lois LaRocco's loved ones aren't the only local family this week begging thieves to surrender stolen urns. A Bellflower woman's home was robbed recently, and in addition to the electronics and jewelry taken was the box containing her father Antonio's ashes.
Updated, Police report that the grandmother's ashes were safely returned.
A gardener found the urn outside an apartment building in the 800 block of South Sixth Street in Burbank the same day it was stolen, police say, and turned it in at a Burbank police station. The urn had scuff marks, but family members said they are just glad to have it back. “It’s just a miracle,” a granddaughter told NBC 4.
The police didn't realize what they had until a police spokeswoman saw the story on NBC's "Today in LA," according to Burbank police Sgt. Darin Ryburn.
"It just makes me feel good that there is justice," stepdaughter Lily LaRocca told NBC. "I'm very thankful the gentleman turned her in to the Burbank Police Department."
“We’re ecstatic,” Steve Legino, Lois’ son-in-law, told NBC. “It was four days of craziness."
Legino said the theft of some jewelry and a purse, which have not been recovered, is not that important and that family is just happy that “grandma’s home.”
The memorial they'd been planning for her, which had been put on hold after the theft, can now take place.