Cottage Grove mom calls for return of stolen hard drive containing family photos

- A Cottage Grove, Minnesota mom is speaking out after a thief went into her car and stole a hard drive containing all of her family photos.

"I cried the whole day,” said Tara Jarosiewicz. “I think I was bawling when the cop came to do the police report."

Jarosiewicz feels completely violated.

"I don't think people realize when taking stuff, you could be taking something that means so much to somebody and means nothing to you,” she said. “You have no idea what you're taking."

Someone late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning got into her unlocked car parked in her Cottage Grove driveway. They made off with what seemed like a few things with very little value: an iPhone charging cord, some personal paperwork and a zebra print cloth bag.

But it's what was inside the bag that might fetch a few bucks if pawned, but is priceless for Jarosiewicz: an external hard-drive containing thousands of personal photographs.

"I keep all my pictures on there in case my laptop would crash,” said Jarosiewicz. “So it has every picture ever taken of my kids on it."

"We don't have a really good lead on who it would be yet,” said Sgt. Mike McCormick with the Cottage Grove Police Department.

The Cottage Grove Police Department is on the case. A thief or thieves hit Jarosiewicz's neighborhood earlier this week, rifling through vehicles with unlocked doors. Investigators went to Facebook for help.

"We've had over 500 comments on the story since the story was posted yesterday,” said McCormick.

Police are asking those responsible to, at the very least, return Jarosiewicz's cherished drive and an original army photograph of her grandfather as a young man, which was tucked into her bag.

"People are quick to judge,” said Jarosiewicz. “I'm not perfect by any means.”

Jarosiewicz says she knows she made a mistake, but frankly, wishes the thieves had taken her car and left the irreplaceable contents.

"I should have locked the doors,” she said. “I should have brought the bag in. But at the end of the day, it is my car. And it is my stuff. And people shouldn't take people's things."

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