WESTBURY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A commute to work turned into years of lost family memories for a Long Island mother. Now, she is imploring the thief to return her mementos.

Laura DeBeau’s Nissan Altima was one of two cars broken into in her neighborhood in Westbury last week.  The robber only left behind glass shards of a window, which were smashed just outside her front door.

“Saw a few things strewn around in the front seat – didn’t even notice the window at first,” DeBeau told reporters, including CBS 2’s Katie Fehlinger.

The window has since been fixed. The thief’s loot included a jacket, cell phone charger and a box containing nearly a thousand pictures of her two deceased sons. While the items are nothing of much monetary value, to Debeau, they are priceless.

WCBS 880’s Mike Xirinachs reports

“Besides my sons there’s other people in those picture too — my dad and my sister. You know, everybody gone that’s all I have is to look at photos of them,” DeBeau said.

DeBeau said losing the photos spanning 30 years is like losing her sons all over again.  She says the photos were in her car because she was in the process of sorting through them to make a collage.

A photo of Laura DeBeau's sons that was not stolen (credit: Sophia Hall / WCBS 880)

A photo of Laura DeBeau's sons that was not stolen (credit: Sophia Hall / WCBS 880)

In 1998, DeBeau’s son, Deene, died in a car crash when he was only 13 years old. Just two years later, after DeBeau gave her only other child, Reefe, a car for his 18th birthday, he died in an auto accident.

DeBeau is now making a plea with the thief to return the stolen snapshots.

“If you have it, bring it back. I don’t care why you have it, how you got it,” she said.

“The box wasn’t locked. There were so many pictures, the lid didn’t even close. Immediately, you could tell that there’s nothing in it [except the photos],” DeBeau tells WCBS 880 reporter Sophia Hall.

WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall with DeBeau

Nassau County police were asking the public for assistance if they had any information.

Sound off in our comments section below…

Comments (4)
  1. PaPa Joe says:

    I have, actually, 7,542 photos stored on my computer, approximately 5,000 of which are my grandchildren. They are also in albums; many of the photos are edited and reprinted by me. These photos are not only precious to me but, hopefully, will be passed down to my grandchildren who may, one day, see the passage of their lives. My hope is that Ms. DeBeau gets her photos back. If the person who did this reads this – do the right thing. You could put the photos back in the location from where you took them; do it in the middle of the night.

  2. Mike says:

    Sophia Hall looks like a dude!

    1. KPMc says:


      If you think so you must date some very pretty effeminate “dudes” Congratulations on winning the right to marry in NY. Mazel Tov.

      To the car thief:

      Just return the pics. Maybe the good karma will earn you some positive vibes to make up for all the horrible things you’ve done. And even if not it will be nice to do something positive for someone else for a change.

  3. nana says:

    very sad losing both sons a year apart the same way, devastating, who ever took those pictures I hope you have nite mares until you return those pictures

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