A Camera Worth A Thousand Words Stolen

Monday, December 1st 2008, 7:16 pm
By: News 9

By Charles Basset, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- A metro woman, living with an illness that may claim her life, is mourning the loss of a stolen item she said can never be replaced. Jami McElrath is now desperately searching for her prized possession full of memories.

McElrath and her family took a trip to Texas over the Thanksgiving holiday. On the way back, someone stole a gift given to her by her deceased father.

"I'm just stunned that anybody would do that, and it's not going to mean anything to them," McElrath said.

But it means the world to her, a 35 millimeter camera that's been in her family just as long as she has.

"They're not going to be able to sell it. They're not going to be able to get any money off of it," McElrath said.

McElrath's father bought the camera during the Vietnam War while serving as a Marine officer. Throughout her life, the memories of family and friends have all been documented through its lens.

The family was returning from Texas on Sunday and decided to stop at a Cracker Barrel restaurant in Arlington. The camera was stolen while they were inside.

"Someone smashed the window in and just grabbed the back pack and drove off, and that's all they took," McElrath said.

The camera was inside the backpack. A surveillance video from outside the restaurant showed a red car pulling up beside the family's silver vehicle. A man leaves the red car and walks around, after five minutes the man returns to the car, pulls out and then backback into the space before leaving. McElrath believes this may be the culprit.

She wants to get the camera back as soon as possible. She has terminal breast cancer and wants to give the camera to her son.

"I'm the only person that cares about this, so if they would just return it, to me, all would be forgiven," McElrath said.

She is offering a $500 reward for the camera. A theft report has already been filed with the Arlington Police Department.