‘Disgusting thing to do’: Woman robbed of necklace with photos of deceased parents in Tyngsboro

TYNGSBORO, Mass. — She is 77 years old and was out for an afternoon walk Tuesday around her condominium complex. Then, a vehicle pulled up.

“A female passenger waved her over to the vehicle,” said Tyngsborough Police Chief Richard Howe. “She didn’t think anything of it. She approached the vehicle.”

Howe said the woman, who wishes to remain unidentified, had no reason to suspect anything was amiss.

“People ask for directions,” said Howe. “It’s a very tight-knit community, so she would have no reason to suspect anything else. So this is definitely one that’s taken us by surprise.”

The surprise is what happened next.

“The woman in the passenger side reached out with her hand, grabbed the back of her neck, pulled her into the vehicle,” said Howe. With her other hand, that female passenger tore from the victim’s neck a necklace with a locket.

“Unfortunately, she delayed calling and speaking with a family member, and a call did not go to the police at that time,” said Howe. “So we learned about it at a later point in the afternoon and that’s when we started investigating.”

What that investigation has turned up so far is a Ring doorbell surveillance video showing a black SUV in the complex. Police now identify it as a Jeep Compass.

Howe said the occupants of the vehicle are both described as 30 to 40-years-old, and the driver is a Hispanic male.

The woman was uninjured, Howe said -- except for the loss of the necklace. It’s worth about $2,000, he said -- but the emotional value is priceless.

“Her father passed away when she was eight,” explained the woman’s son-in-law, who also wished to remain unidentified. “And then her Mom passed away during the Khmer Rouge, so this is the last piece of memory for her life.”

That last piece of memory is the last photograph of the woman’s parents -- which she kept in the locket of the necklace.

“This would obviously be a disgusting thing to do with any human being,” said Howe.

But it seems so much worse when the victim is 77-years-old and the item stolen was a cherished memory.

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