Bargain-hunters and rarity collectors love going to Salvation Army shops because there’s a decent chance that someone has unwittingly donated a valuable dress, pair of boots, books, toys, or record collection. What they don’t expect to find are the cremated remains of another human being.
The Portsmouth Heralds reports that authorities in the New Hampshire city are looking for the family believed to have donated an urn, complete with cremains, to their local Salvation Army.
While it’s unclear when the urn first appeared at the store, authorities say the location is holding the item until verified family members can be located.
The urn, which stands about 10 inches tall and is bronze, includes the engraving Richard L. Pettengill 1929-1981.
Lieutenant Michael Maloney tells the Herald that while leaving an urn at the Salvation Army might be in distaste, it isn’t illegal.
“At the end of the day, it’s not a crime. It is odd that someone would choose to donate them to the Salvation Army,” he noted, adding that families have chosen to scatter ashes in a variety of places.
While staff at the Salvation Army in question couldn’t provide further details on the item, Maloney tells the Herald that the urn is officially the property of the store now.
Another Odd Donation
This isn’t the first time that a family has either unwittingly or purposefully donated a full urn.
In Dec. 2014, a Lafayette, IN, Goodwill received a batch of donations that included two white boxes filled with cremains.
The Goodwill store was able to track down the family that had donated the original box in the first place.