Families appeal for safe return of ashes stolen during Ipswich cemetery break-in
Andrew Alford’s ashes were stolen during the early morning break-in. (Supplied: Alford family)
A Queensland mother has made an emotional plea for the safe return of her son’s ashes, stolen during a break-in at a cemetery west of Brisbane.
Thieves made off with the remains of Andrew Alford, and those of another man, after raiding the crematorium at Warrill Park Lawn Cemetery in Ipswich about 3:30am.
They ransacked an office and left with two plastic containers of ashes, along with an electric drill.
Mr Alford’s mother, Pam, said she was “absolutely devastated” by the theft.
His family were due to come together in Ipswich next week to place his ashes in a niche alongside a place set aside for his parents.
He died three years ago, aged 46, in a motorcycle accident.
“Hopefully we can appeal to the better nature of the people to realise what they have done and to return them,” Mrs Alford said.
“I can only think the thieves did not have any idea what was inside the box.”
A plastic urn similar to the two stolen from the cemetery. (Supplied: Queensland Police Service)
Mrs Alford said the incident has been extremely distressing.
“I am just hoping upon hope that even if they have thrown them in the bush somewhere that we could relocate them and give him the proper placement that we had planned,” Mrs Alford said.
“Andrew was killed almost three years ago and it has taken that amount of time as a family to sort out what was best to do.
“He died without a will and so left no specific instructions.”
Cemetery managing director Stephen Beer said the other family was due to bury the ashes this morning.
“It has not happened before … and both families were very understanding when we called them to tell them what had happened,” Mr Beer said.
“We hope to shame the thieves into returning the ashes.”
Police have searched the cemetery and adjoining bushland to no avail.
Detective Inspector Davie Briese said he was concerned for the condition of the urns and ashes, given the way in which the area was ransacked.
“Obviously our fear now is that upon finding what they are, the containers may not be treated with the respect they deserve,” Detective Inspector Briese said.
“So we would ask the people responsible to come forward and give the families back what they want.”