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Woman says burglar distracted her while another stole her husband’s ashes

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Posted at 4:07 PM, Apr 10, 2015
and last updated 2015-04-10 16:07:45-04

ARCADIA, Calif. — A man who claimed to work for a power company distracted an elderly woman in California while his accomplice entered her home and stole cash, jewelry and a box containing her husband’s ashes.

The victim, Betty Snelling, told KTLA a man knocked on her door Tuesday morning and said he had to take a look at a power pole in her backyard.

Then, “He said, ‘Lock the front door.’ So I locked the front door and we went around,” Snelling said.

The two walked to the yard where the stranger started flooding her with questions about the fence, the power pole and her truck.

While the man peppered the unsuspecting Snelling with questions, his accomplice slipped inside through an unlocked back door and rummaged through the home, collecting a hefty amount of cash, jewelry and a box containing her husband’s ashes.

Snelling was devastated when she discovered what had happened.

“Oh, I felt so stupid,” she said. “I had a very tearful afternoon.”

Snelling’s beloved husband Byron, known as “Bing,” passed away five years ago, and she kept his ashes in a large wooden box on a table.

After the theft, she told KTLA, “I thought, ‘Well, does it really matter? You know, this is OK. He’s in heaven … It’ll be OK.'”

Snelling described the man who distracted her as being in his early 40s, white or possibly Hispanic, shorter, with a medium build. He was wearing work clothes, boots and a baseball cap.

She did not get a look at the second thief.

The box of ashes was heavy, made of dark-stained wood, and had a marble inlay on the top or lid, Snelling said.

Anyone with information about the theft can call the Arcadia Police Department at (626) 574-5150.