Days before Dave and Erica Lacey’s wedding, Erica was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of lymphoma. She passed away in 2011 at the all-too-young age of 30, and Dave became a broken-hearted widower. The life that Dave and Erica spent together was documented on Erica’s beloved camera and Dave cherished the hundreds of photos it held, including ones taken at their wedding and Erica’s funeral. But one day in 2012, thieves broke into Dave’s home and took everything of value, including Erica’s camera and all of the precious pictures on it. But the story doesn’t end there… Because about a year later, police made a shocking discovery.
In 2012, burglars broke into Dave Lacey’s house in Santa Ana, California. They took his Xbox, his jewelry, his electronics, and most gut-wrenchingly, a camera that belonged to Dave’s late wife, Erica.
“It just didn’t seem fair because after all that we went through, to lose those, it was like a punch in the gut,” he told CNN.
In an instant, more than 300 photographs of Erica and Dave’s life together were gone. Dave didn’t think he’d ever see the photographs, which spanned from their wedding to Erica’s funeral, again.
Then a year later, another house was broken into. And in connection with that theft, police found 20 receipts for items hocked at a local pawn shop.
When police visited the pawn shop, they saw a camera, turned it on, and looked through the pictures.
The more the police looked through the pictures, the more they realized the camera’s significance—especially when they saw pictures of a wedding and a funeral.
The officers had no names or other information to connect the camera to its owner, but one of the officers recognized a specific brown wall and a familiar tree in one of the pictures. The police decided to go to the place where the photo was taken. And when they arrived, the officers recognized Dave Lacey from the pictures in the camera.
Because Dave had accepted that the camera was gone forever, he thought the officers were joking when they said they’d found a camera. But as soon as he saw the camera strap, which Erica made before she passed away, he knew it was hers.
Watch the video below to hear Dave describe the incredible feeling of getting his photos back:
Please share this story if you were also happy to to see Dave reunited with his precious photos!
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