PARALIMNI, Cyprus (AP) — Cypriot police have recovered the stolen ashes of a Swedish teenager after a man who said he accidentally stole the urn phoned the family in Sweden, offering a tearful apology, and gave directions for its retrieval, the youth’s mother said Monday.
Kinga Bednarz told the Associated Press she’s “relieved and thankful” after her ordeal, saying her conversation with the alleged thief was an “emotional moment.” She said the man, who did not identify himself, insisted that he had meant no harm to her or her family.
The urn, inscribed with “Dennis 2000-2019” was in one of three bags stolen last week from a rental car the family was using while on vacation on the east Mediterranean island nation. The bags were taken after thieves smashed the passenger’s side window.
It’s unclear whether the thief’s remorse extended to him returning about 200 euros ($224) in cash that the bags also contained.
Bednarz, originally from Poland who has lived in Sweden for the last 13 years, said the man told her where the urn could be found. She then notified Cyprus police who tracked it down near a highway exit on the island’s southern coast.
The family had parked at Governor’s Beach intending to scatter the ashes into the sea. Bednarz said the family had agreed a few years ago that they would like to dispose of a deceased family member’s ashes on a beautiful stretch of beach.
Bednarz, who flew back to Sweden on Saturday, said she and her husband will return to Cyprus on Tuesday to collect the urn. But she’s undecided whether to follow through with scattering the ashes because she would prefer her whole family to be there.
The theft came to light after Bednarz reached out to local Cypriot media to appeal for information about the urn’s whereabouts. Her son died in an accident several months ago.
Police have arrested three Cypriot nationals in connection with the theft, two men aged 33 and 43, and a woman aged 34.
Police said they received a tip implicating the woman and the 33-year-old man, while the other man is suspected of helping the other two evade arrest.