VACAVILLE, Calif. (KTXL) — A family visiting Vacaville from out of state was devastated after they said their rental car was broken into Tuesday morning and a backpack containing their brother’s ashes was stolen.
“Mostly we’re just sad because we didn’t get to honor Tim’s final wish, which was to bring him home and lay him here with family,” said Kristal Horne.
Horne made a promise to her brother, Tim Horne, before he died from cancer in January, that his family would come back to their hometown of Vacaville and scatter his ashes across his most favorite places.
“We were going to visit some places Tim grew up and I was going to show this is, basically, his life in Vacaville,” Horne explained.
But the trip took a horrible turn when Horne received a frantic call from her brother’s sister-in-law who had stopped to get a quick breakfast at Mel’s Original Diner.
“Leslie called me and she said, ‘Somebody broke into the car, they took my backpack. It’s got Tim’s ashes in it,'” Horne told FOX40.
Horne said there were two backpacks taken from the couple’s rental car. One was gray with keys to their cars back in Texas and important medication inside. The other was a black nylon bag with a white gold wedding ring, $500 in cash, and a Ziploc bag containing her brother’s ashes.
“The thief, I guess, broke into two other vehicles within a short amount of time,” Horne said.
“One guy had, he was a hunter coming from Idaho and they stole all of his guns, and he was parked right here in the front,” said Fernando Rincon, the general manager of Mel’s Original Diner.
Rincon said car thieves have hit their parking lot numerous times before, sometimes in broad daylight and in a matter of minutes.
“Typically, they tend to happen more during the holiday season when people are shopping and not paying attention,” Rincon said. “I’ve been here for nine years, they tend to come from out of town and look around for places, shopping centers to target vehicles.”
Horne said after sharing their ordeal on social media, the outpouring of sympathy has been overwhelming. She said she hopes the thieves who took their beloved brother also feel the same.
“The thought that it’s laying in a ditch somewhere or along the freeway just really kind of breaks my heart,” she said. “Just bring him back, drop him off, you know.”
Anyone who lives near the Vacaville-Fairfield area and spots anything resembling a plastic bag containing what appears to be ashes or any other suspicious car burglary activity is asked to call the Vacaville Police Department.