SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. -

When thieves broke into Steve Krowder's home they took many expensive possessions: a flat screen television, his granddaughter's jewelry, some of his knives. Unfortunately they also took his most precious possession: his dead wife's ashes.

Steve Krowder's home was broken into in the 4400 block of North Mayhew Road recently. He had been renovating the home and planning to move in soon and in fact most of his stuff was already in the residence.

"They went through a bunch of boxes over here. They spent quite a bit of time in here," he said.

Like many victims of break-ins, Krowder started to assess the damage, to figure out what had been lost. Thousands of dollars worth of items were missing from around his home, but the one item that was taken caused his heart to break.

Sitting in his closet, along with a picture of his wife Nancy, were her ashes.

"I had my wife's ashes sitting right up here with her picture," he said, pulling the picture off the wooden shelf to blow dust away from the glass. Steve and Nancy were married for 25 years.

He lost her in 2008 when Nancy died of ovarian cancer. Krowder felt like he was starting to move forward in life again, until this happened.

"When I saw that was gone, I almost fell apart. It hit me hard, because it was like I lost her all over again," he said.

Now he's hoping the thieves have a heart and return the ashes.

"It doesn't have a value to anybody but us," Krowder said.