Ashes Stolen From SF Rental Car Returned

Joe Wilkinson's ashes were meant to be scattered in a redwood grove, but they disappeared from a parked car last Wednesday.

As we mentioned in our Bizzare Crimes roundup last week, two women from North Carolina had their rental car broken into at a public parking garage in Fisherman’s Wharf last Wednesday. While car break-ins are common in our city, this one had a twist — the ashes of  Joe Wilkinson, 56, also went missing. Wilkinson passed away from a heart attack last August, and his wife Mary and daughter Julia had planned to scatter his ashes in a redwood grove in Marin. That plan was thwarted when his ashes were stolen. 

But now, San Francisco Police Department has announced that the ashes have been found. On Saturday afternoon, plainclothes officers from Central Station were working an auto burglary abatement operation when they spotted a man of interest in the case. They confronted him at Chestnut and Montgomery streets, and he confessed that he had taken the ashes. The suspect called a friend, who met the officers with a velvet bag that held the container of Joe’s ashes. After the Wilkinson family positively identified them, they were returned to the family.

The suspect was released pending further investigation, and his identity has not been released.


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