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Lost ashes are returned

Urn containing remains, stolen from a car, found under a bush in Burbank.

October 03, 2013|By Veronica Rocha, veronica.rocha@latimes.com
  • The family of Lois LaRocco, a deceased former Burbank resident, plead for the public's help to find who stole her ashes, which were placed in an urn and left inside a minivan in Glendale. Family discovered ashes missing from the vehicle on Sunday, Sept. 29. The urn was found under a bush in Burbank.
The family of Lois LaRocco, a deceased former Burbank… (Courtesy of Lily…)

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

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

Police said 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 finding and returning the stolen urn.

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

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Later that afternoon, Lily LaRocco retrieved her stepmother’s ashes from the Burbank 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 due to complications from Alzheimer’s.

Lily LaRocco picked up the urn from a cremation service just days before and hid it under her vehicle’s backseat, not wanting to bring it inside right away because of her young and inquisitive children, she said.

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

The family had planned a gather this weekend in memory of Lois LaRocco, but decided to temporary hold off any service.

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

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Follow Veronica Rocha on Google+ and on Twitter: @VeronicaRochaLA.

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