How far would you go to get your stolen family heirloom back?

By Dan Hiestand, Houstory Marketing Director

Ok, perhaps it wasn’t the best idea in retrospect, but we have to say we were impressed when we came across the story of a Utah woman who would stop at nothing to get her stolen heirloom back.

And we mean nothing.


Utah, family heirloom, family history
Debbie Harms’ parents. Photo courtesy of KUTV.


The following is an excerpt from a KUTV article in Roy, Utah, describing Debbie Harms’ actions after she tracked down the alleged thieves of her mother’s wedding ring through an online ad that posted the ring for sale.


Against advice officers would later give her, (Debbie) Harms made the bold decision to call the man who posted the ad and invite him into her home. She offered $900 for what he said was a family heirloom he was ready to sell. When he arrived, Harms realized the ring was hers. She slipped it onto her finger and her emotions took over.

“I told him that this was not his family heirloom. It was my family heirloom,” Harms said. “I told him his two choices were to take the $10 for gas money and run as fast as he could, or he could wait for the police to come while I gladly beat him to a pulp.”

The man, along with his friend who had come inside and a woman waiting in the car, took off.


That’s some serious passion and sentimentality. Also: I can’t believe she gave them $10.

According to Harms (I love that this is her last name), her father “went a full year without any lunch and saved all his lunch money to buy that wedding ring.”

That’s a lot of sacrifice, love and a serious lack of calories. I’m trying to think if I own anything that I would spend “hours” scouring classified ads for? Or if I possess anything I would risk personal injury for?

As The Kinks said, I’m a lover not a fighter. However, while I don’t condone violence, I can understand the passion. Unlike “stuff,” family heirlooms connect us to the past, and are often the only physical associations we have with loved ones after they are gone.

This heirloom was obviously worth a lot monetarily, but something tells me that if Ms. Harms was tracking down her father’s pocket watch, or a painting her mother created in kindergarten, she would have been just as up for a scuffle.

Legacy, memories and connections are powerful things – and not to be taken lightly. While we can’t say we recommend the Debbie Harms solution to heirloom retrieval, we certainly understand and respect it.

Obviously, some people are more inclined to go the extra mile. How about you? Do you own anything that you feel that passionate about? How far would you go to retrieve your family heirloom? Let us know!