Car stolen from Battlefield Mall parking lot with grandfather’s ashes inside

Published: Jun. 17, 2022 at 7:36 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - KY3 told you about multiple car thefts at the Battlefield Mall in the last few weeks.

The car of one of those victims was found by Springfield Police on Thursday. Sarah Garoutte’s car was stolen from the mall parking lot last Friday, June 10.

However, it wasn’t just her car going missing that concerned her. The personal items inside of it held a much more significant meaning.

”My grandfather’s ashes,” Garoutte says. “I have like a pod of his ashes because I just take them where I go. Out of all personal property, that was probably the most to get back. I did realize yesterday, my friend Heather who passed away in October, I had a pair of her sunglasses in there that I would wear.”

Garoutte works in the Battlefield Mall. Her phone and keys were stolen from the store where she works, leading to her car being stolen from the parking lot.

“We did get them on surveillance at our store,” Garoutte says. “This guy was in and out of my stock room in less than a minute, so as soon as I came out, he went in.”

On Thursday, the Springfield Police Department found Garoutte’s abandoned car in a bank lot.

Her grandfather’s ashes were still inside the car when it was found.

But her friend’s sunglasses weren’t.

“It’s emotional,” Garoutte says. “They were some of her favorite glasses. All of her photos are in those glasses. I’ve taken lots of trips and worn her glasses. It’s pretty emotional. It was one of her favorite material things that she had.”

Cris Swaters with the Springfield Police Department reminds people to pay attention and say something if they see something.

“If you do see someone suspiciously looking into cars, checking a lot of car doors as you’re walking in and out of someplace like the mall or a gym, places like that, definitely call 911 and let us know who you see, where you see them and give us a description of the person if you can,” Swaters says.

As a mom to two daughters, Garoutte is also concerned about her family’s safety.

The thief has not been caught.

Not only does this person know where she works but also what she drives.

Garoutte says that person also has a copy of her car keys.

“They can disable the keys, but they can still unlock the car, so that is another thing I’m trying to get through with my insurance is to completely change the inner lock of my car, the locks on the doors, instead of just replacing the keys and deactivating the old ones,” Garoutte says.

Because there are delays for car parts and body shops are backed up, Garoutte doesn’t know how long it’ll take for any repairs needed and when she can actually get her car back.

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