GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WGFL) -- From California to Gainesville—Kerry Martin wasn’t even moved in before her new rental home’s window was smashed while she wasn’t home.
“There was a brick that had been thrown through my window,” Martin said. “I noticed right away that one of the laptops had been stolen.”
Martin called authorities, and right after she hung up she found a second laptop had been stolen—belonging to her 21-year-old son who died from testicular cancer in 2017.
“I went for a couple of days not knowing if I would ever see those pictures or videos again,” Martin said. “They were very honest with me that likelihood of recovery was not good.”
Deputy Nick Aldous was on his night patrol, when he spotted two kids riding bikes. One bike matched the description of a recent bike theft nearby.
“He made contact with those two juveniles, in violation of their juvenile probation, and was able to not only recover a stolen bike for another child, but was able to recover 2 laptop computers with very sentimental and irreplaceable photos for a woman in our community,” said Lt. Brett Rhodenizer with the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office.
“He said, Hi, I think we have your laptops,” Martin said. “And I said, oh my gosh where, and he said here’s where we are. He pulled the laptops out and on top of the car.”
Sure enough, they were Martin’s, easily identifiable by the laptop case covered in Stitch—her son’s favorite Disney character. Kerry was overcome with emotion.
“Just a huge rush of thankfulness, joy,” Martin said.
“It’s incredible to be able to do that for folks and not only solve the case but give people back their belongings,” Rhodenizer said.
After Martin’s experience, she doesn’t want to see this happen to someone else. She says after her son’s passing, it’s been hard to go through his pictures and videos—but it’s something that is necessary to do if you want to save them.
“It was a very hard lesson to learn in regards of making sure I have everything backed up to the cloud,” Martin said. “Making sure that I have the extra copies that I need just in case something like that happens again.”
Martin would like to remind everyone to be aware of the warning signs of testicular cancer, the number one cancer for men ages 18 to 35. For more information on the warning signs and how to get checked, you can visit tcaner.org