A Priceless Package: Rochester woman’s package stolen containing late grandmother’s belongings

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(ABC 6 News) – A woman in Rochester has fallen victim to a porch pirate, or package thief, but it wasn’t a holiday gift that she ordered for a loved one. It was a package filled with her late grandmother’s belongings and she hopes to get it back.

Zoë Cantu’s grandmother, Claudia Cantu, passed away in June at the age of 100. Five months after her death, Cantu’s aunt was sending her a package all the way from Texas with the rest of her grandmother’s belongings. Cantu was looking forward to receiving the package with everything inside to remember her grandma by.

“I could not even possibly replace any of those items,” Cantu said.

The package was filled with Claudia’s sweaters, pictures, letters and other sentimental belongings.

“It has the smell of her home on them you know? But my aunt had actually found letters and drawings I had made for her from when I was really little and had included that in the package,” Cantu said. “You know my fear is that when someone went through the package that those letters or those drawings got thrown in the trash and that definitely is breaking my heart.”

Cantu went to her neighbors to check if anyone had a camera on their doorbell. A couple of them did and they saw the package being dropped off. Later on, a van pulled up and took the package, but the camera angle wasn’t clear enough to see who the thief was.

“You never think it’s going to happen to you until it does,” Cantu said.

Claudia Cantu was born in 1921 in Uvalde and has lived in Texas her whole life. Her granddaughter would go down and visit her often.

Claudia was also a World War II veteran. Cantu said she wanted to do everything she could to help her country so she enlisted in the Women’s Army Corps.

“And she was a very very beautiful woman and she actually modeled for them but every time that you would ask her about it she would show you pictures and she’d be standing over a Jeep with you know a wrench in her hand and they’d use her for basically Army posters and trying to get women to enlist,” Cantu said.

Although Cantu has many memories of her grandma, she also wishes she could have those physical reminders.

“Had it been any other package in the world it would’ve been annoying but I could’ve gotten it replaced,” she said.

Cantu said she likes to see the good in people and she wants to believe that the person that stole her package was just desperate.

“I would like to believe that they didn’t know how meaningful this was,” she said.

Cantu has made posters and hung them up around her neighborhood, local pawn shops and thrift stores hoping the items will show up or that someone finds them. She said she knows her grandma would want her to have her belongings.

“But I can also hear her telling me ‘Don’t dwell. You can’t change what you can’t change,'” Cantu said.

Cantu said she will be investing in a Ring doorbell and urges everyone else to get one if they can.

The Rochester Police Dept. said it has received about half a dozen reports of stolen packages in the last couple of weeks.