BULLHEAD CITY — The loss of the clothes is one thing, as is the laundry basket.
The recipe books, while hand-assembled and thus irreplaceable, are a bearable loss.
But whomever broke into Jan Smith’s Jeep on Saturday night or Sunday morning also stole what she calls “the stuff that keeps me sane.”
The items are mementos of Smith’s husband of 30 years, Leonard “Smitty” Smith, who died in March.
Those include his wallet, his pocketknife and a Marine Corps challenge coin.
Perhaps the worst blow was the theft of a burial flag Smith planned to give to her daughter.
“A triangle-shaped flag?” she asked rhetorically. “We all know what that means. Whoever did this didn’t care that it was a veteran.”
Leonard Smith served in Vietnam and now is buried at a military cemetery in central California. Jan Smith said she has been struggling to get her widow’s benefits.
She said that the burglary of her Jeep, which was left with the windows open because of the extreme heat, also meant the loss of her husband’s certified death certificate, a Bible containing information about his memorial service and other documents.
Leonard Smith’s phone also was taken; it contained photos that his wife said retain strong sentimental value.
“If I was able to recover some of that stuff, it would be like a gift, you know,” she said. “A priceless gift.”
Smith was visiting her parents in The Reserve at Fox Creek, and planned to get up early Sunday to go babysit for her daughter, Teresa de la Riva, in Needles.
She said she retrieved some items from the Jeep at about 11:30 p.m. Saturday, and that the son of a neighbor arrived next door at 2:57 a.m. Sunday. Smith thinks the thief or thieves struck sometime in between.
“Nobody saw anything,” she said.
Bullhead City police have no leads or suspects in the case, department spokeswoman Emily Fromelt said. She said that fingerprints were lifted and sent to the Arizona Department of Public Safety for analysis.
The serial numbers of the stolen items were entered into the National Crime Information System, said Fromelt, who also is an investigative assistant in the property crimes unit.
“If any were to be pawned, anywhere in the country, I will get notified,” she said.
Smith said she’s hoping that anyone who discovers her husband’s effects turns them over to police.
“My concern is that someone has thrown (the property) somewhere because it has no value,” Smith said. “But if I can get them back, I want them back.”