PARALIMNI, Cyprus (AP) — Cypriot police have recovered the stolen ashes of a Swedish teenager after a man who said he accidentally stole the urn they were in phoned the family in Sweden, offering a tearful apology and directions to the missing container, the late teen’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 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 Cyprus. The family had parked at Governor’s Beach intending to scatter the ashes into the sea.
It’s unclear if the thief’s remorse extended to returning about 200 euros ($224) in cash that the bags also contained.
Bednarz, who flew back to Sweden on Saturday, 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 Mediterranean island’s southern coast.
Bednarz said the family agreed a few years ago to dispose of a deceased family member’s ashes on a beautiful stretch of beach. She and her husband plan to return to Cyprus on Tuesday to collect the urn, Bednarz said, but she’s undecided about going ahead 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 ages 33 and 43, and a 34-year-old woman.
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.