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Memorial Items for Princeton High Student Stolen Outside Parents’ Home

The memorial for Owen Bardzilowski on the family's front lawn on Henry Avenue in Princeton.
A photo taken two weeks ago of the memorial for Owen Bardzilowski on the family’s front lawn on Henry Avenue in Princeton.

A Mets jersey, a Rubik’s cube, two picture frames, a porcelain dove, an angel, a mirror decorated with hearts and the words “rest in peace.”

These are just some of the things that were stolen from a memorial for a 14-year-old Princeton High School freshman student.

Joe Bardzilowski came home from work Monday afternoon and discovered that someone had taken the tokens, small and large, that people had left on a table on the lawn in front of the family’s home in the weeks after his youngest son, Owen, died.

Now all that is left is a teddy bear and some dead flowers.

“All of the little things that exemplified who Owen was were stolen from the memorial table. Who would do such a thing?” Bardzilowski said. “My wife is devastated. She was planning to keep all of the items in a case so we could open it in a few years and celebrate Owen.”

Each parent thought the other had brought the mirror inside because the family had been planning to paint a message to the community that said “thank you.”They had planned on taking the memorial down in another week. They were shocked to realize the mirror and other items were taken.

Now the grieving parents just want the items left by Owen’s friends and classmates returned, no questions asked.

“We don’t want revenge. We don’t want to file charges against someone. We just want everything back,” Bardzilowski said. “If the items are not returned, we will file a police report and call for an investigation. We will also build a larger memorial with security cameras to deter this from happening in the future.”

If the family get the items back, Bardzilowski said he will create a very small memorial on the other side of his shrubs on his property that friends of Owen can visit.

“Please, whoever took the items, just put them back,” he said.

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

  • Douglas Rubin

    I can replace the item I left for Owen, Joe. It would be my honor.

  • Princeton Neighbor

    I am so sorry to hear this. It is very painful to even imagine this happening, let alone living through it as you are. I don’t condone what’s been done, but maybe you can find some solace thinking whomever did this needed something from Owen; somehow related to Owen in a way s/he can’t relate to anyone else and those items taken are being cherished and bringing someone peace that nothing else could. If the thief doesn’t return the items, maybe there is some comfort in thinking this way?

  • FreshAir

    This is a disturbing report, from a grieving family. Much sympathy is sent to Owen’s family for their losses. For those concerned about theft, CANARY makes a sensitive wide angle security device that clearly captures movement in & around a home when residents are away. Any movement is recorded & filed, making it easy to identify & provide evidence against trespassers. We’re even alerted & see deliveries made to our door & find that remarkable. Our police can’t be everywhere, so this aids law enforcement.

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