Man's camera with images of late wife found a year after being stolen

Mike Krumboltz
The Sideshow

Roughly a year ago, Dave Lacey's camera was stolen. That's a bitter enough pill to swallow, but what made the loss especially difficult was what the camera contained: priceless photos of his late wife, Erica Werdel-Lacey.

Lacey told KABC he thought the camera was "gone and stolen forever" — along with the photos of Werdel-Lacey, who passed away at the age of 30 in 2011 after a battle with cancer.

"She was a super superstrong woman, supertalented. Right before we were married, she was diagnosed with cancer," Lacey told KABC.

About a year later, though, Lacey got some good news: Police in Santa Ana, Calif., tracked down the camera.

It was found in a pawn shop. In it were more than 300 photos of Werdel-Lacey's "funeral and celebration of life," according to KABC.

The discovery of the lost camera was tied to another theft — this one of a computer. Detective Paul McClaskey of the Santa Ana Police Department told KABC, "Through a tracking application in the computer, we were able to find the location where the suspect was at."

The police searched the suspect's home and found receipts from a pawn shop. There, police found the camera (among other items) and looked at the photos on the camera's memory card.

From KABC:

"I recognized a picture of a wall and a tree and that jogged a memory," said Santa Ana Police Detective Jerry Verdugo.

Police went to the neighborhood where they thought the photo was taken and eventually found Lacey.

"That was pretty awesome," said Lacey. "Having it back with the memories is fantastic."

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