Thieves steal safe that contained ashes of woman’s husband

MARYSVILLE — Deirdre Thomason thought she did everything right.

When the Marysville woman put her house on the market, she placed her valuables in a 400-pound safe she’d had bolted into the concrete of her garage floor.

Her caution didn’t stop burglars who, on a Sunday afternoon in October, broke through a double-locked metal door, cut through the bolts and wheeled the safe away.

It was a lucrative haul for the thieves and a devastating loss for Thomason. Inside the safe were her husband’s ashes, in a white plastic box. There also was his gold wedding ring she’d planned to hand down to her son when he married.

Gone, too, were her husband’s trifold wallet, photos of Thomason as a little girl and precious letters her mother wrote to her before she died 21 years ago.

Her grandmother’s engagement ring also vanished, as did her grandfather’s 1949 college ring from Loyola in Chicago and her great aunt’s amethyst pendant with a large oval purple stone. So did her own platinum diamond engagement ring and her daughter’s sterling silver locket with her dad’s initials engraved in it.

“I didn’t want to take the chance that someone could pick something up inside my house during a house showing, so I put it all in the safe,” she said.

Her home had an alarm; the detached garage did not.

Thomason believes the burglars cased her secluded home, bided their time and even used her handcart to move the safe.

She and her daughter were gone for several hours that Oct. 5 afternoon. Their hearts sank when they drove up to their home to see a light on in the garage. They knew it had been turned off when they left.

The list of stolen items is long. The value exceeds $40,000. There were Social Security cards, birth certificates, checkbooks, savings bonds, cameras, car titles, cash and gift cards. The thieves appeared to have taken their time. They rifled through the dozens of boxes that had been stored in the garage as Thomason prepared to move. They took a television and a food processor and broke some of her plates.

Clint and Deirdre Thomason were high school sweethearts who grew up in Marysville. In August 2012, two weeks shy of their 30th wedding anniversary, Clint Thomason died at home. The lumber trader always had been active. He’d gone for a run earlier that evening. His death was a shock. He was 52.

These days, there is an annual golf tournament in his name to raise scholarship money for student athletes.

“I lost my husband two years ago, and now my family got punched in the gut with this theft,” she said.

She has filled out a nine-page property loss report for the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office. Next to most items, she has jotted down an estimated value. At the top of the first page she lists her husband’s ashes. Under value, she wrote “priceless.”

And that’s how she feels. She was holding onto them as she waited to see where her two grown children settled down. The family always had been close. She envisioned her ashes would be next to his some day.

“We were going to be together,” she said.

Thomason has scoured pawn shops looking for the stolen jewelry and other items. Ultimately, she hopes her search will lead to the identity of whomever stole the ashes. A Snohomish woman has been questioned for investigation of possessing some of the items, but detectives don’t know who actually broke into the garage to cart away the safe.

Detectives recovered some of the silver jewelry and are continuing their investigation, sheriff’s office spokeswoman Shari Ireton said. The suspect has a drug history. When she was being booked into the Snohomish County Jail earlier this year on a weapons charge, corrections officers found methamphetamine in her bra, according to a police report.

Thomason imagines that the burglary was motivated by people looking for goods to sell or trade to feed drugs addictions. She knows she is not alone.

“It just didn’t happen to me,” she said. “It happens all over the place.”

She’s hoping that there might be a sliver of honor among thieves or, perhaps acquaintances of thieves, that someone will know something about the whereabouts of her husband’s ashes and will come forward with information leading to their return.

She also wants people to know that safes are not always safe. She believes her pain can be a lesson for others.

“I just don’t want this to happen to anyone else,” she said.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446;

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