In times of tremendous loss, people often search for ways to remember their loved ones.
One Williston woman is using her creativity to do so, but after a recent encounter with what she believes was a porch pirate, her progress has been slowed.
“My mom and my grandma, they were sewers,” Alicia Freed said.
Freed is a seamstress, too. She’s been doing so for the past 20 years.
“I’ve made car seat covers, and tutus, and headbands, and I’ve done that for a lot of years and that was fun,” Freed said.
But recently, she’s turned her focus to something a little more personal.
“A customer asked for a bear and I made one and it took off,” she said.
The bears she’s referring to are “Memory Bears.”
They’re teddy bears made from clothing and belongings of lost loved ones.
Each thread holds sentimental value.
“It’s very fulfilling because I get to be a part of the healing process for families who have lost their loved ones,” Freed said.
She estimates she’s made hundreds of bears since last summer and has had close to no hiccups or mistakes along the way, until this month.
“So when my families order, they mail me things in the mail and they mail them at their convenience so I don’t always know when they’re coming, but I had some families message me January 8th, ‘Hey, has my package arrived?'” she said.
But they hadn’t.
Four families sent sentimental items to Freed’s doorstep, but the boxes have gone missing.
“One gal, it was her grandpa she lost, and she mailed everything that she had of his clothing, so there’s no replacing that if it’s not found,” Freed said.
Berthold Police Chief Al Schmidt says it’s not unfamiliar to encounter a porch pirate taking personal items left around the house.
“People should know that this is an increasing problem,” Schmidt said.
He says it could have happened for a list of reasons.
“More people are shopping online than ever, especially during the COVID, and there is not as much employment as there was a couple years back, and people who are involved in narcotics,” he said.
Freed says she’s since filed a claim with UPS, installed cameras around her property and even offered a monetary reward for returned items.
“Unfortunately, nothing has come from that yet,” Freed said.
But she says she refuses to give up the hope of finding the priceless items.
Freed says if you know any information to contact her directly via Facebook.