When the detectives scrolled through the stolen camera, they realized just how significant the photos were. Most people have to experience the pain of a thief stealing an important item. But for Dave Lacey, it was the latest tr.age.dy.
Dave and Erica had been planning to marry and start a family. They felt so happy to have found each other. Both were expecting their wedding day to be the best day of their lives.
But just a few days before the wedding, Erica got some terrible news. She had large b cell non-Hodgkins lymphoma, a rare form of cancer. Erica and Dave were determined to stay together, no matter what. They were hopeful that she could recover. But they also knew that the outlook was bleak.
The couple married. The wedding day was still special.
The couple no longer had enough money for a professional photographer. So they used their own camera to capture the day. As the months went by and Erica deteriorated, the couple kept on taking photos. Soon, the couple realized that Erica would eventually succumb to her illness. To occupy herself, Erica took more and more photos with the camera.
One day, Erica went into the hospital for the last time. A few days later, she d.i.e.d.
Dave, understandably, was devastated. But he wanted to keep Erica’s memory alive by continuing to take photos with her camera. He took photos throughout her funeral and planned on taking photos of his life every day from then on. But one day His house had been b.u.r.g.l.e.d. The t.h.i.e.f had taken many items, the camera included. All of the other items could be replaced. But the photos on the camera, which Dave hadn’t backed up, were irreplaceable.
Dave couldn’t believe that after losing his wife, this final connection with her was also gone. Slowly, he made peace with the idea of never seeing the photos of his wife again. One year after the b.u.r.g.l.a.r.y, Jerry Berdugle and Paul McClaski, detectives of the Santa Ana Police Department, identified a range of s.t.o.l.e.n items at a pawn shop.
The detectives seized the items. Most of what they had reclaimed was un-traceable. It looked like the camera would be one of those items, when they decided to look at the photos on the memory card.
They saw the pictures of Dave and Erica. As they flipped through them, Erica’s condition became apparent.
When they saw photos of the funeral, the cops realized just how significant the photos and the camera were. At first, the detectives thought that there was no way to identify the husband in the photos. But then, amazingly, one of the detectives recognized a wall in the background of a photo. He was convinced that he could identify that address.
The detectives realized that they now had a chance to find the husband.
They drove to what they thought was the same wall. Then they calculated which house the camera could have come from based on the angle of the wall in the photo. Amazingly they were right.
They knocked on the door to Dave’s house. When Dave answered, the detectives realized that they had located the husband from the photos.
“I thought it was a joke at first, to be honest. I had given up all thought of recovery.” – Dave Lacey.
The detectives handed the camera back to Dave. Dave was too stunned to thank them at first. When he came to his senses, he invited the detectives inside. Before talking to the detectives, Dave backed up the photos.
Dave will always be grateful to these two individuals. Thanks to their dedication, he had his most precious memories back with him. Please SHARE this with your friends and family.