Kym Gable reporting

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A Clairton man is relieved after his father’s missing ashes have been returned.

Bob Smith said his heart broke all over again when he got into his van on Mendelsohn Avenue in Clairton.

“It crushed me. It felt like losing him all over again, except a little worse this time,” he told KDKA’s Kym Gable.

Someone broke into Smith’s minivan and stole his father’s ashes. Smith kept the remains in a box from the memorial chapel where his father was cremated.

“He was my best friend that I lost and I just felt like keeping in the vehicle whenever I’m driving around,” he said. “He always liked to go for rides.”

Smith’s dad, Richard Smith, died back in June. He was a decorated Korean War Veteran. The medal he received from his service was also stolen from the van.

Smith’s sister, Amy Richardson, told Gable, “I don’t even have words for it. The medal and ashes aren’t going to mean anything to anyone but us.”

The siblings believe the thief may have thought the bag contained illegal drugs.

“I would assume that to an addict the remains would resemble something, possibly, a cocaine or heroin type substance,” said Smith.

“I don’t want to pass judgment. I don’t want to ask questions. I just want it returned.This is our father,” Richardson said through tears.

However, the bag of ashes was found by a little girl at a nearby playground around 10 p.m. Monday night.

Smith said he would like the thank the child personally.

Clairton Police are investigating.

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