Jerry Ashley lost his wife Darlene last month. She had an aneurysm and was only 48.
But the Lakeland, Florida, resident’s grief was compounded after thieves broke into his home earlier this week and stole something with powerful connections to his late wife.
A laptop computer — one that contains many photos of Darlene, along with messages from her. All the things that remind Jerry of the 28 years they were married.
“It doesn’t mean anything to anyone else, but it does to me,” Ashley told WFLA-TV in Tampa.
So much so that Ashley took a radical step to get the laptop back.
He spray painted his garage door with a stark message to the responsible party — along with the promise of a $150 reward for the return of just the computer. (Ashley doesn’t care about the TV that also was stolen.)
“Somebody had to see something, you don’t walk out of here with 32 inch TV and laptop and not seen nothing,” he told WFLA. “I just don’t see how that is feasible.”
“Everybody that walks by that street is going to see that,” Ashley added. “Everyone who drives by there is going to notice it.”
Ashley reported the crime to police but also hopes someone out there has a heart: “You need to do the right thing,” he said, “you need to bring it back home where it belongs, please.”