On what would have been her 64th wedding anniversary, Bernice "BJ" Immordino asked for one gift more important to her than all the gold in the world: the return of her husband's ashes, stolen from her North Bellmore apartment Oct. 29.
"I have anger that someone could actually violate my privacy and take something so special from me," Immordino, 82, said Wednesday, adding: "A lot of people break in places and take things. But to take something so private? I feel so sad, because of all things . . . "
Immordino, who still works as a real estate agent at the local Century 21, said she returned to her apartment in a home on Pea Pond Road around 12:45 p.m. Oct. 29 to find someone had broken in and taken jewelry, a pocketbook, credit cards, her Social Security card and cash.
Then she realized a gold-colored box, which she'd turned into an urn, had been stolen as well.
Gone were the ashes of her late husband, James "Jim" Immordino, who died of a brain tumor in April 2010 at age 75.
"It was a gold case, but it wasn't gold," she said, noting she and her husband had bought it years ago at Fortunoff's — and that she has a similar case for herself when her time comes. "It was closed with blue painter's tape. And, because of the color, I guess someone figured it must be something valuable."
The loss hit Immordino especially hard Wednesday morning, recalling how she and her husband, who had been a partner in a Manhattan brokerage firm, first met at a church dance in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. He was Italian, Scottish and Norwegian; she was Polish and German. She said they just hit it off, and they got married on Nov. 6, 1955.
"And we were married all these years," she said. "Not only married, but I actually liked him!"
Now, Immordino said, she's just hopeful for a good resolution: that whoever took the ashes will return them, or leave them someplace where they can be returned to her.
Nassau County police said there are no new developments in the case and are asking anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at 800-244-TIPS. Immordino said detectives told her someone tried to use her credit card at a gas station in Hicksville but was denied because the card hadn't been activated.
"I've had a very good life," Immordino said, trying hard not to cry. "But today is very special. God willing, if someone has a conscience, maybe they'll put it [the urn] someplace with a note . . . and I'll be able to get it back."
Of her late husband, she said, "I would trade anything for just a hug from him . . . but right now, I just want my husband's remains back, just having him with me, to comfort me until God calls me for my time."