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Stolen urn with ashes of 87-year-old woman found by gardener

October 04, 2013|By Veronica Rocha
  • Family photo of Lois LaRocco
Family photo of Lois LaRocco (Lily LaRocco )

A stolen urn containing the cremated remains of an 87-year-old Burbank woman was returned to her family this week after a gardener found it in the bushes outside an apartment building.

The gardener reportedly found the stolen urn Monday in the 800 block of South 6th Street in Burbank — the same day Lois LaRocco’s family reported her ashes had been taken from a minivan in Glendale, according to Glendale police spokeswoman Tahnee Lightfoot.

Police told the Glendale News-Press that investigators were unable to recover any fingerprints.

Lois LaRocco’s stepdaughter, Lily LaRocco, and stepson-in-law, Steve Legino, had asked the public for help in finding the stolen urn.

But it wasn’t until Thursday morning, when Burbank Police Communications Supervisor Fay Martin saw news reports about the stolen urn and remembered a call earlier in the week about a found urn, that officials determined it belonged to Lily LaRocco and her family, according to Burbank police Sgt. Darin Ryburn.

Later that afternoon, Lily LaRocco retrieved her stepmother’s ashes from the Police Department. The ashes were untouched and the urn had not been opened.

“She’s home,” Legino said. “This is a one-in-a-million chance.”

Lois LaRocco’s ashes and the navy blue leather urn that contained them were stolen from the minivan sometime Sunday. The vehicle was parked outside the family’s Glendale home. She died Aug. 28 from complications from Alzheimer’s disease. 

Lily LaRocco had picked up the urn from a cremation service just days before and hid it under her the van's backseat, she said.

On Monday morning, she discovered the urn and other valuables had been stolen.

“I am just happy we got Lois here,” Legino said. “It was worth whatever we lost.”


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Veronica Rocha is a staff writer for Times Community News.

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