Alabama man's cremated remains stolen at Las Vegas post office, family pleads for help
One Alabama family is hoping for a Christmas miracle after their father's cremated remains were stolen. The theft happened while a worker was in the process of mailing the remains to Alabama. This is an incident the Pugatch family can't wrap their heads around. In hopes to get closure from their father's death, they are now doing whatever they can to fulfill his dying wish and bring him back to Alabama.
Pictures and priceless memories is all that's left for this grieving family.
"Just trying to understand what the heck just happened," said Rachel Storey.
Joel Pugatch was living in Arizona at the time he fell ill and transported to Las Vegas for treatment, where he later died.
Because he was well liked and loved in his community, his family scheduled a memorial in Parker Arizona.
"That was going to be my sense of closure and the final part was going to be me receiving his remains," said Deborah Pugatch.
But that quickly changed when she got a call before the memorial service from the manager at Las Vegas Cremations.
"I think it was a classic holiday robbery. I think they saw bags and a female and thought it would be an easy thing to steal," said Philip Smith, the General Manager of Las Vegas Cremations.
Smith says as their worker was getting out of the car to mail the remains of Pugatch and two other people. A car pulled up and snatched the bags and took off.
"They are priceless.This is not a holiday gift. This is not a sweater from grandma. This is something we cannot insure enough," said Brandy Hall, Managing Funeral Director at Las Vegas Cremations.
Deborah and Rachel say all they can do now is remain hopeful they will soon reunite with their father.
"We have zero control over what happened. We could either allow our emotions to consume us and destroy us, or we can make the best of a horrible situation," said Pugatch.
As for the suspect, surveillance video did not show much to help in the investigation. Las Vegas Cremations are offering $3,000 reward for each set of remains returned.