Bob Merchant died of liver cancer in April, but for his birthday last Saturday, he wanted to make one last trip to Las Vegas. So his wife, Lynn Merchant, planned a memorial, but a portion of his ashes were stolen out of a friend's rental car parked in her driveway two days before the service.
"I was shocked and upset," said Lynn. "This is typical of the things that used to happen to Bob. If we went this way, he went that way. But I was really glad that we didn't have all the ashes out there in the car."
She says she brought a few more ashes to sprinkle in Las Vegas, and Bob's transit friends from around the country came to honor the man who made them laugh over the years. She says if he knew what happened to his ashes he wouldn't be upset.
"Number one: he would think it was funny and that it could only happen to him. And number two: he would be calling everybody on the phone and going, 'You won't believe it, I'm on the news.' He is that kind of guy," said Lynn.
She says her husband loved his dog Woody and he loved life. Some day Bob and Lynn's ashes will be buried together. Lynn Merchant hopes the thief who stole some of the ashes will have the decency to return them, knowing by now what's inside the box isn't what the thief had in mind.
"Since it was in this little blue velvet bag, they probably thought that it was jewelry or something else that was of value but this is only of value to me," said Lynn Merchant.
She is asking the thief to return the ashes, if by any chance he/she still has them. Lynn says the person can just leave them on the front door step.