Among the goods police say a Sweetwater couple grabbed in a burglary: citizenship documents that would allow one man to visit his ill mother in Cuba and the ashes of another man’s mother.
The couple, Yoandry Perez and Jessica Casas, say on Facebook that they’re married but told Sweetwater police they’re boyfriend and girlfriend. Police say they were arrested March 8 after ransacking a backyard in the 700 block of Southwest 109th Avenue.
They’re each charged with three counts of burglary of an unoccupied dwelling, three counts of trespassing of an unoccupied structure, two counts of petty theft and one for grand-theft auto. Perez posted $29,000 bond.
Casas also was hit with five charges that stemmed from the gold Ford Escort police say she bought under the name of a hairdresser whose driver’s license and credit cards she stole. Casas remains in jail on $40,000 bond.
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Pedro Villares found credit cards and identification papers, such as residency paperwork and passport, stolen from his home in the 10900 block of Southwest Seventh Street. Villares can’t go to and from Cuba without these papers. Police want anybody who finds them to take them to the nearest police station.
Meanwhile, Villares’ neighbor, Danilo Calzada, got his mother’s ashes back. Sweetwater police say Perez admitted that the metal box with Raquel’s ashes was collected with the items he and Casas stole on two trips to Calzada’s townhouse.
“It’s been an emotional rollercoaster,” Calzada said by phone. “It’s a relief to get her back. You feel violated. You feel angry. But this is closure.”
Raquel died in their home under hospice care in 2009.
With the townhouses being razed for FIU student housing, Calzada had started to move.
“She would leave there on the last day, with me,” he said. “That’s why she was still there as we were in the process of moving.”
Until the metal box went with a white refrigerator and other things in two burglaries.
Calzada wondered what kind of people commit such a violation.
Perez said they stole things — appliances, purses, jewelry — from Goodwill and Salvation Army drop boxes and quickly sold them using the Offer Up app or Craigslist. Such posts from Offer Up comprise Casas’ Facebook page.
Calzada’s refrigerator was sold before Perez talked to the police.
The metal box with the ashes? It sat in a garbage pile on the corner of Southwest 48th Street and 93rd Court, according to the police report. That’s where police found it.
“It makes you believe in miracles,” Calzada said. “The police officer who gave them to me looked like he was choking up. It’s a feel-good story. I still feel violated. How can anybody do this?”