Man loses best friend's ashes in rash of car break-ins

Danville police have no leads in 10+ thefts

DANVILLE, Ind. - Thieves recently struck at least 10 cars in the Hendricks County town of Danville, taking a bag that contained the human remains of one victim’s best friend.

“I don’t even understand how somebody could do this to begin with,” said Shane Dailey, whose car was among those ransacked by criminals early Monday morning.

He awoke to find the contents of his glove box strewn about his car, and suddenly realized that the ashes from his best friend were gone. He was supposed to take those ashes to the mother of his best friend, Joshua Van Hoy, who recently died just before his 27th birthday.

“It brings everything back up again. I’m almost to the point where I don’t think about it every single second of the day, and then this happens. I mean, he’s gone. I’m never going to see him again and now I don’t even have his remains,” said Dailey.

The ashes were sealed in a plastic bag that was tucked inside a velvet sack. The thieves took that bag, along with some cash and other items that were left in the car.

“I’m sure they probably thought it was something else. Either that, or just saw a pretty little velvet bag and put it  in their pocket and took off. And probably opened it up later, they probably didn’t even realize what they were getting,” he said.

“He deserved better than that. He deserved better than his ashes to be stolen and just thrown in a trashcan or thrown on the street or whatever,” said Dailey.

Police said all 10 of the vehicles were unlocked when they were hit by the thieves, all in the same neighborhood on South Wayne Street in Danville.

“Citizens should remember to park in well-lit areas, as well as keep their vehicles locked at all times, and don’t leave anything of value inside the vehicle if it’s not necessary,” said Danville Police Sgt. Shawn Rout.

He called the holiday period a "peak time" for cars to get thieves’ attention.  

“Vehicle break-ins generally take place during school breaks, vacation times of the year,” said Rout.

In this string of crimes, police said one car had $250 stolen, while other people lost compact discs, cigarettes and smaller amounts of cash.

One car contained a $9,500 wedding ring set, which was also stolen.

Police said they had no leads on any of the crimes, so Dailey has been posting signs offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the string of crimes.  He said he’s hoping the reward may push someone to turn the thieves in, or prompt the criminals to do the right thing.

“I really wish that they would return them to me,” he said. “I don’t care about anything except the ashes of my friend.”

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