Daughter desperate for return of late mother’s stolen, irreplaceable keepsakes

Click to play video: 'Photos and letters from recently passed grandmother stolen in Edmonton'
Photos and letters from recently passed grandmother stolen in Edmonton
The family of Eileen Vettese is hoping a thief might have a change of heart, after their truck filled with irreplaceable memories of their recently passed matriarch was stolen in Edmonton. Sarah Ryan reports – Dec 14, 2022

An Edmonton family grappling with the devastating death of their matriarch has been dealt another blow — the theft of all they had left to remember her by.

Eileen Vettese was 86 last month when she tested positive for COVID-19 and doctors discovered another infection. The illness was too much to overcome, and the great-grandmother died on Nov. 26.

“It was very unexpected for us,” said daughter Mandy Vettese. “We’re still in quite a bit of shock. Something we definitely didn’t expect. She was actually very healthy, other than the dementia.”

Eileen’s family went to clear out her residence, donating most items to charity.

Mandy Vettese holds a picture of her mom, who recently passed away. Her mom’s photos and letters were stolen last week. Sarah Ryan / Global News

But her personal keepsakes — photos, letters and a collection of Royal Doulton figures — were packed up in the truck and brought home with Mandy.

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The family wanted to go through the photos to make a slideshow for Eileen’s celebration of life.

“My daughter was going to come by and pick them up to keep them at her place for safekeeping. But we never got that chance.”

When Mandy’s husband laid down for a nap at their home in the southeast Idywylde neighbourhood on Wednesday, Dec. 7, thieves stole the locked truck — along with Eileen’s lifetime of memories in the back seat — from in front of the home.

“We were literally still in shock, dealing with the passing of my mom. It was just unbelievable.”

They filed a police report right away.

The 2006 Ford F-350 ran on diesel, and has an unusual brown paint job, along with chrome trim and running boards. In the back it had a soft tonneau cover, with an old Alberta licence plate HHP 279.

This is the truck that was stolen with all of Eileen Vettese’s precious photos and letters inside. Courtesy: Mandy Vettese

Eileen’s family doesn’t care about the truck — it’s the precious mementos to them which are irreplaceable.

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“I would just beg them to please drop them off anywhere — no questions asked. Somewhere that someone could find them and return them to us. Somewhere that’s not in the snow,” Mandy said.

READ MORE: Sisters plead with car thieves to return their mother’s ashes

The keepsakes were in decorative boxes, with family members’ names on them, as well as Rubbermaid bins — one blue and two clear. There was also an avocado-print bag and a shallow box with the figurines inside.

She’s struggling to get into the Christmas spirit this year, given all the loss.

But Mandy is still hopeful the special memories will be returned.

“We would just do anything to get them back, especially before Christmas would be great.”

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