LIVONIA (WWJ) – A cash reward of up to $1,000 is being offered for information leading to the arrest of whoever stole an urn containing the remains of a U.S. soldier who died in Afghanistan.

Mike Oliver said urn of Brian Backus was stolen from his son’s car while he was home for a visit in Livonia on July 8.  His son, also named Mike, had served with Backus overseas.

“It’s important that this get returned,” said Oliver. “You know, I mean, my son is totally devastated not having this with him anymore — because he goes everywhere with it.”

The 2012 white Ford Mustang was parked outside Oliver’s home on Arcola Street near Inkster and 5 Mile Road from 3 a.m. to 7 a.m.

Why would someone take Backus’s ashes?

“We suspect they didn’t know what they had. They thought it was, you know, maybe a valuable material … and it’s really only valuable to us — my son, the family,” Oliver said.

Backus was 22 years old when he was killed in while serving as an Army medic the day before Father’s Day on Saturday, June 18, 2011. Prior to joining the service, Backus had attended the University of Michigan and planned to become a doctor. He left behind a three-year-old son.

Anyone who may have information is asked to call Livonia Police or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK UP. You can also text your tips  to CRIMES (274637).  As always, tipsters may remain anonymous.

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