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Stolen urn returned after home invasion

Posted at 8:12 AM, Feb 10, 2016

Samantha Smith  kept her apartment door unlocked Tuesday night while she went to help a friend fix his car, just outside in the parking lot.

She tells 7 Action News they were only gone for about 10 minutes around 10:00 pm. When the 16-year-old returned to her unit, she discovered her place had been ransacked.

“We came in and my house was completely trashed.mThere were blankets all over the floors, notes spilled all over the place,” said Smith.

While those are just material things, the burglars stole something invaluable: an urn, holding her grandmother’s ashes.

“That’s like my mom,” said Smith. “My granny was like my mom.  She raised me. I shared a room with her for 11 years. So I was definitely pretty heartbroken about it.”

“I can only imagine," said Derrick Jackson, spokesperson for the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Department. “It’s one thing to be violated and have your belongings gone through and somebody stealing out of your home, but to take something of that kind of value - it’s unbelievable.”

Investigators believe it was a crime of opportunity and the thieves grabbed the urn and Samantha’s friend’s expensive box of tools.

The next morning while the teen was gone, someone put the urn back in her home. Samantha thinks the burglars bizarrely may have grown a conscience, or had a change of heart but she still says, 'Who does that?'

“I appreciate them bringing it back, but how do you take an urn like that in the first place?  You didn’t have to go to that funeral.  You didn’t see the person die.  How do you do that somebody? How do you give them that scare, even if you did return it,” said Samantha.

The urn is staying with other relatives while the toolbox is still missing. 

The Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Department is asking anyone with any information on this case to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK-UP.