MONTREAL — The morning after her husband’s funeral, Pat Burns’ widow made a shocking discovery: Her car had been broken into, and valuables including his collection of autographed hockey sweaters had been stolen.
Montreal police said Tuesday the thieves would have known whose belongings they were taking.
“They went through his stuff,” said Constable Anie Lemieux, noting Burns’ wallet was in the car. “The person who left with the shirts and everything knows that this is Pat Burns’ stuff.”
Burns, who coached the New Jersey Devils to the 2003 Stanley Cup title, died Nov. 19 at age 58 after a long battle with cancer.
Hours after his funeral, someone stole signed hockey jerseys from each of the 30 NHL teams and family photos from Line Burns’ car. Even bed sheets from the hospital’s palliative-care unit were missing.
Burns’ cousin Robin, who delivered a eulogy at Monday’s funeral, called the crime “deplorable.”
“Whoever it is, they must have no conscience,” Burns said.
He pleaded with the thieves, if they have “any type of conscience,” to drop the items off with a TV or radio station or with anyone who knows Burns — and no questions would be asked.
“I’d only say to anyone listening, if you think you can sell them or do anything about them, then I think the police and the policemen’s brotherhood and friends of Pat might have different ideas,” he said.
The entire roster of the Devils was on hand for the service honoring the police officer-turned-hockey coach, who also had successful runs in Montreal, Toronto and Boston. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Quebec Premier Jean Charest were joined by stars such as Raymond Bourque, Patrick Roy, Tie Domi and Luc Robitaille.
The crime was committed at an outdoor parking lot between midnight and 9 a.m. Tuesday. The Burns family and many friends had attended a wake in a downtown bar Monday night after the funeral.
“Anyone with information or that might be approached by someone wanting to sell these items, it’s impossible not to know that these belong to Mr. Pat Burns,” Lemieux said, noting she believed some were destined for a charity auction.
The stolen items also included a designer men’s watch, two suitcases containing Burns’ and his wife’s clothes, an iPad and jewelry.