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Grandmother's stolen ashes returned to Woodland Hills family

October 31, 2011 |  9:30 am

  Police say a duffel bag containing the ashes of a departed loved one have been safely returned to the family.

A Woodland Hills family told police that a thief stole the ashes when they broke into a sport utility vehicle at a mall near Owensmouth Avenue and Erwin Street on the evening of Oct. 24 and grabbed some luggage, detectives with the LAPD's Topanga area station said.

Security guards at the mall found the duffel bag lying in the parking lot about 7:30 a.m. Sunday, police said. The guards checked the bag, immediately recognized what it contained and called authorities.

The bag contained "many of the items" taken from the SUV, including a brown box which had a white plastic bag inside that held the remains of 88-year-old Betty Weikert, who passed away in February, police said.

Weikert's grandson, Matt Powell, says her dying request was to unite her ashes with her husband's.

"First when we realized what had happened, we were just shocked. We couldn't believe the car had been broken into," Powell told KTLA.

"Then we realized that the ashes were taken," he said. "We just couldn't believe what happened."

Powell says he is happy the thieves apparently had a heart.

"We're definitely glad to have them back, so we certainly appreciate it," he said.

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-- KTLA News

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