Family member’s ashes stolen during burglary

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – A Tampa Bay area woman is in shock after her house was burglarized and her valuables were stolen. Something was taken that Kimberly Morales can’t put a price tag on, and that’s tearing her apart.

The St. Petersburg woman lost her grandfather, Harry Wilt, last year. As if that weren’t bad enough, his ashes are now gone.

They were stolen by the crooks who ransacked Morales’ house. On March 11 the burglars broke through the fence and forced their way in through the back door. They got away with jewelry, a TV, video games and the family safe – which contained the ashes.

“All that can be replaced,” Morales said as she began to get emotional. “I can all get that back, money. But to take ashes from someone who’s gone, no.”

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the burglary, while Morales wonders how low can someone go to take her grandfather’s ashes. She doesn’t even think the crooks originally knew the ashes were in the safe. She thinks they found the ashes when they opened it, but, by then, were long gone.

Going through pictures outside the family house, Morales showed photos of her grandfather and her now 13-year-old daughter. “He looked the same until the day he died,” she pointed out.

She told us she remembered growing up and hearing him talk about his colorful past. “He was in the Navy and all of the stories he used to tell us were being on the boat, being on the water,” Morales recalled fondly.

Wilt passed away last June. On his birthday last week, March 16, the family planned to go to Fort DeSoto to scatter his ashes. “Five days before his birthday,” Morales said, pausing think for a few seconds.

Now she just hopes the ashes will be returned and her grandfather can be laid to rest in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico right where he belongs. “I have high hopes but I don’t know,” Morales said about getting the ashes back.

She knows it’s a long shot but said anything is possible.

If she does get the ashes back, the family will go through with their original plans to scatter them in the Gulf. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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