ALBANY, Ore. (KMTR) – One person’s trash is another’s treasure, but in this case, it was Karen and Terry Lukesic’s absolute treasure that was taken within the last month.
Albany Police are looking for strings of dragonfly and butterfly lights that belong in the front yard of the West 12th Street home. Those lights represent and commemorate three loved ones that the Lukesics lost three years ago.
In August of 2008, Christopher James Lukesic, otherwise known as “C.J,” was killed in a car accident after his SUV left the road and went down into an embankment landing in a pond. His two sons, Garrett and Kegan, ages, six and three, were also in the car.
“There was something in the road and my son had gone up onto the edge to avoid whatever was there,” Karen Lukesic told NewsSource 16. “All three died in the car and they were gone.”
Karen and Terry have made it through thick and thin but still find themselves grieving after losing three loved ones at the same time.
“People think after three years you’re supposed to be over it,” she said.
Everything that surrounds them, though, shares memory of the boys. From the cars they drive to the house they live in, and possibly most importantly, the front-yard garden they care for daily.
“I look out there and I see their things. I can go touch a ball and know my son played basketball, or I can look at the bike and put it in the yard and picture my grandson learning to ride it,” Karen said.
Everything in the garden has significance. Toy trucks, action figures, little bikes and balls and more are all memories of the three people that died in 2008. Not just things, the items once belonged to Garrett, Kegan or C.J – meaning they were touched, played with and handled by them at one point.
“I’m not ready to give up their things,” said Karen.
Unfortunately, she’s had to give up some things recently thanks to thieves. On two separate occasions, things have gone missing.
“My grandsons loved fireworks and lights. A lot of the things we have put up around here are lights for them.”
Karen said without those lights, her garden seems incomplete.
The boys loved flowers – specifically Aztec lilies and pansies – and they loved critters including dragonflies, butterflies and hummingbirds. All of those can usually be found somewhere in the garden. The lights that went missing were dragonfly and butterfly strung lights on the fence.
“It's not one of these fancy gardens that a lot of people have, but it's what they would like and what I'm able to handle and do,” Karen said.
Karen cannot handle, however, the thought of someone taking something else. The lights were one thing, but anything else in her garden is irreplaceable.
Of course, the Lukesics want the lights back and say they will not hold anything against the individual(s) that return them.
“They can just leave them in the yard. They don’t have to tell me who they are, they don’t have to come and apologize or anything. They’re not yard decorations, they’re memories. People don’t have a right to come by and take them away. To some people things in the yard are yard decorations and they can get more. For me, some of the things in this yard are things I can't replace. To someone else they may look like nothing to someone else but to me and my husband they're everything.”
Karen wants to get the message out that it’s not just about her prized possessions that should remain where they belong, but everyone’s.
“Before you steal or before you take somebody's things, try to understand that there's other things attached to those besides a monetary value,” Karen said.
Albany Police are on the case and working with the Lukesics to try and find their lights. Unrelated, someone also broke into their car and stole a GPS system and two packs of gum. If anyone has any information to help the Lukesics, they are encouraged to call Albany Police at (541) 917-7680.