By Eric Stevick Herald Writer
EVERETT — When Tom Harrigan proposed to Kathleen Ormsby more than 60 years ago, the young couple who grew up during the Depression had a decision to make.
Would he give her an engagement ring or would they buy a car?
The money he’d scrimped so hard to save bought a Studebaker.
Twenty-five years and six children later, Harrigan was able to buy his wife her first diamond ring.
It was a symbol of an enduring love that began when they first set eyes on one another at a bar in the Bronx, N.Y.
Kathleen Lefcourt kept the ring after her mother died four years ago.
The Everett woman also was holding onto her father’s wedding ring, which was slipped off his finger after he died Feb. 22. The retired engineer was 84.
Lefcourt was the keeper of the family heirlooms.
That sunny afternoon, as bagpipes played “Amazing Grace” and the “Kerry Song” at Tom Harrigan’s funeral Mass in Mukilteo, someone broke into Lefcourt’s Everett home.
The burglar smashed the lock off a basement window and slipped inside to steal the rings as well as other jewelry. The person purloined electronic equipment, money from Girl Scout cookie sales, rosaries and even a child’s First Communion crucifix and cross necklace.
“You just never think it will ever happen to you,” Lefcourt said. “It was like being slapped in the face to lose Dad’s ring on the day of his funeral. It feels like they targeted us.”
Detectives are investigating the burglary on a cul de sac in the 5700 block of 10th Drive W., Everett police officer Aaron Snell said.
Police do not know if it’s a copycat case similar to a 2012 ring of so-called “obituary burglars” who read death notices in the newspaper and waited for families to leave before looting their homes.
“We have no information to substantiate that,” Snell said.
The leaders of the obit burglary ring were caught, prosecuted and sentenced to prison. There is no suspect in connection with the Saturday burglary, Snell said.
It is always good practice to have someone, such as a neighbor, watch a home during a funeral or any extended period away, Snell said. It’s also worthwhile to consider an alarm system, to double-check that locks and windows are secured and to keep inventory of one’s possessions, he said.
In the case of Saturday’s burglary, it appears someone broke into the back of the home after walking through a back yard greenbelt.
For now, Lefcourt hopes whoever is responsible will have a change of heart after learning the sentimental value the stolen items hold for her family. She hopes they anonymously will return the rings.
“We are just hoping they get a conscience,” she said.
Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; firstname.lastname@example.org.