A mother-daughter trip to San Francisco to scatter a loved one's ashes took a horrible turn when thieves broke into the family's rental car and stole the ashes.
Julie Wilkinson and her mother, from North Carolina, did what a lot of tourists do: They drove down to Fisherman's Wharf and parked the rental car in a garage. What they didn't know was thieves target those marked cars.
Now, they are desperate to get back their loved one's ashes.
Wilkinson said thieves broke into their rental car's trunk at the Anchorage Square parking garage on Wednesday and stole the scattering tube with her father's remains inside.
"We came to scatter his ashes, celebrate his birthday, and instead we're here talking to you about how he isn't with us anymore," Wilkinson said.
City leaders are well aware thieves target rental cars, which usually have distinguishing bar code stickers on the bumpers or windows. Supervisor Norman Yee just introduced legislation that would require rental car companies to remove such markings.
"You're putting a target on a customer's back," Yee said. "If you want to do business here in San Francisco, you have to get rid of these things to protect the customer."
Yee also introduced legislation last year requring rental companies to warn customers about the break-in problem. That legislation has yet to pass.
Wilkinson said she shared her story to help get that warning out and hopefully get her father back.
"If anybody knows, please give him back," she said.
The Wilkinsons said the ashes can be returned, no questions asked. They also said it's very unlikely they will ever return to San Francisco.