A brazen thief stole priceless mementos from a woman in San Diego's Pacific Beach neighborhood.
Andrea Abel is heartbroken to lose dozens of medals from charity races and marathons she completed in honor of her late father. The medals, collected over six years, hold no real monetary value but mean everything to Abel.
"A lot of them were with personal engravings, like, 'This one’s for you, Dad,' and just some really special things that I think are irreplaceable," she said.
An apartment move Tuesday morning turned into complete disbelief and sadness for Abel. It happened near Hornblend and Dawes streets.
"I brought this bin of things down and realized I wasn't going to be able to get it in my car and I thought I should run up and get the lid,” she explained.
Abel said she ran upstairs for just a minute, leaving her keepsakes outside her car. When she came back they were gone.
"I had this weird feeling so I started to run and I got out here and it was gone. I mean, a box of very, very special marathon medals that I had earned over a very significant amount of time," she said.
The box was filled with medals from races including at least 20 relays, 40 half-marathons and approximately 10 marathons she's completed in memory of people she’s lost.
Abel started running races in 2011 in honor of her father and grandfather who both died of cancer.
Her father died after a battle with cancer 15 years ago this month. Her grandfather died about five years ago from cancer, she said. Just last year, Abel's mother battled skin cancer.
Abel runs to support the American Cancer Society. In all, she and her group of friends and family have raised $160,000 for the charity, she said.
“The medals are kind of this thing to represent this way to keep the connection to my dad alive in a way," Abel said.
Now, she's walking the streets of her neighborhood and posting signs at nearby businesses, hoping someone comes forward.
"For the common person standpoint, they're not worth much. But for me, this is probably the most important thing I could've lost," she said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the San Diego Police Department at (619)531-2000.