By CBSLA Staff

LANCASTER (CBSLA) — A wooden box containing the cremated ashes of a family’s loved one was stolen during a burglary and now the family is hoping the thief will come forward and return it.

Detective Dan Moran dedicated his entire adult life to public service from serving in the U.S. Army and then on the streets of Los Angeles when he joined the Los Angeles Police Department.

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Steve La Flower says Moran spent about 43 years with LAPD, most recently with the Van Nuys station.

“He was always a hero to everybody, literally everybody,” La Flower said.

Moran died after suffering a stroke in 2008, just three months into his retirement, leaving behind his wife of 30 years and other loved ones.

“She moved up to Lancaster shortly after, she couldn’t stay in the house they lived in,” La Flower said.

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Last Thursday, the 70-year-old widow’s sense of security in Lancaster was shattered when strangers broke in through her windows, ransacked her home, and stole two things: a safe containing — among other things — her late husband’s military service photos and a wooden box containing his ashes.

A box, pictured above, containing the ashes of late LAPD detective and Army veteran Dan Moran, was stolen in Lancaster. (Source: Steve La Flower)

“She’s hardly eating, can’t sleep,” La Flower said.

La Flower says not only is the family concerned for her safety but they’re also going through the grieving process all over again.

“It’s like stealing somebody’s grave. When you go to the loved one and you talk to your loved one at the grave. It’s like that going to the urn. I would hold the urn and tell him I love him, I miss him,” La Flower said.

It’s about getting his uncle back to his aunt.

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Det. Dan Moran’s nephew Steve La Flower is asking anyone who finds the wooden box with Moran’s ashes to take it to a police department, no questions asked. He says they can also contact him directly at 661-478-6089.