By Cambi Brown

ELK GROVE (CBS13) — A man lost his car and his wife’s ashes at an Elk Grove car wash after a thief posed as an employee.

“I’m upset to have lost my wife, but I’m more upset to have lost her ashes,” Melvin Hayes said.

Thursday was supposed to be about closure for Hayes.

“Today was the day I was burying my wife,” he said.

But that all changed when his car with his wife’s ashes inside was stolen from an Elk Grove car wash.

Hayes says a woman pretended to work at the car wash, befriending him before stealing his car. When he went to see why his car wasn’t done yet, he was told that his “girlfriend” took it.

In disbelief, Hayes says he could only think about the ashes in the back.

“Someone could dump my wife’s ashes in the Sacramento River, or dumpster, or down the sewer,” he said. “I don’t want that to happen to my wife’s ashes.”

Hayes and his wife, Annamarie, would have celebrated their 49th wedding anniversary in January. But she died on Nov. 22.

For Hayes, the final memory of laying his wife to rest is gone.

“There can’t be closure when I don’t know where her ashes are, or if she’s properly buried,” he said.

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