The highly polished bronze sculpture of a dolphin apparently looked enticing to the burglar who walked into a Chautauqua County home through an unlocked back door earlier this month.
The burglar walked away with a sculpture worth $700, according to investigators, but the piece of art has a secret that makes this a highly unusual crime:
The sculpture is an urn that holds the ashes of the homeowner's deceased husband.
"I've been doing this 35 years," sheriff's Sgt. Peter Pett said. "I've never had anyone steal an urn with anybody in it."
The theft occurred April 3 in a home on Van Buren Road in the Town of Pomfret, outside Fredonia, Pett said.
The distraught widow was so upset she didn't report the theft to the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office until a week later.
The unusual urn has a golden dolphin riding a base of waves and stands about 18 inches high, Pett said.
The widow just wants her husband's ashes back and isn't interested in pressing charges, the investigator said. She or Pett will accept the return of the urn with no questions asked.
Pett said he hopes the thief, or a pawn shop that purchased the sculpture, will see this report and return the sculpture once they know what it contains.
Anyone who has seen the sculpture in the past 10 days is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at 753-4498.