Frank Schwakopf and his wife spent the first couple of weeks of August, 2012, at a cabin in the cool country.
When the couple returned to their home near 65th Ave. and McDowell, they realized they'd been robbed," said Phoenix Police Sgt. Darren Burch.
"This could have been your typical residential burglary, except for what was taken," he said. "They took something very personal to the victims: the ashes of their dead son."
Frank said the ashes were attached to a dog tag-style necklace. It had a vial pendant with a dragon on the front of it. The vial contained his son's ashes.
"I can't really describe what it means to me," he said. "It's one of the few things that we have left in memory of our son."
Three other precious jewelry items were also taken: two were memorial necklaces with engraved photos of Frank's wife and son. They were hanging on a porcelain statue of Mary. The other was a heavy silver-link chain with a dragon pendant (see photos below). That one, Frank said, belonged to his son and he wore it all the time.
The Schwakopfs' 37-year-old son was killed in a workplace accident in 2010.