Man wants stolen sentimental ukulele returned; helped late wife cope with chemo

A South Bay man is asking for help in recovering a sentimental item that was stolen from his pickup truck over the weekend in Oakland.

It's a ukulele that belonged to his wife who died of cancer.

His truck was parked at 4th and Clay Street at  Jack London Square when when it burglarized Saturday night.

His 34-year-old wife Elizabeth Hunnicutt of Sunnyvale found joy in music as she played the ukulele and sang in the hospital as she fought a rare, aggressive form of cancer that started in the uterus and metastasized.      

"She embodied love which makes it even more heartbreaking to go through the suffering that she did," says Edward Hunnicutt, Liz's husband, " She was just incredible." 

Her father had bought her the ukulele. 

Husband Edward Hunnicutt says the instrument helped her cope with the devastating diagnosis with grace and strength..

He says they met in 2011 and got married last year after she was diagnosed. 

"It was an outlet for her. She had no control over the chemotherapy or radiation that was going on. No control over what her body was doing," says Hunnicutt.  

Liz  was a  preschool teacher who sang in church and coffee shops. A friend who performed with her says the ukulele is invaluable.

"Music took her to another place," says Steve Haddad, the couple's friend.   

"It's not just something that makes sound. It's a whole lot more to it," says Hunnicutt.

On Saturday night, Edward Hunnicutt went to Jack London Square tp have dinner at the Fat Lady. 

He says he was there for about an hour when his truck burglarized.

No windows were broken.  A side window was open and the screen inside loosened.

"It was shock. It's like the air is sucked out for a while of you. You don't know what to think," says Hunnicutt.

He says the ukulele was inside a black canvas bag in the back of his pickup when it was stolen. 

The ukulele is orange colored and has a distinctive Hawaiian sunset in the front with "ukudelic" written across the top. 

He says he'd often play it when the mood struck and that his  wife would not be angry over the theft.  

"Forgive yourself.  Continue to walk and love in kindness," Hunnicutt says that would be what Liz would say.  

He says he wants the ukulele back and the person responsible to know it's story.

"If it is never returned, that it falls into the hands of somebody who can appreciate it and know the story behind it," says Hunnicutt,"The way we bonded over music was something that was pure." 

Hunnicutt says he is planning a road trip to spread Liz's ashes. 

At each location, he had hoped to play the ukulele in remembrance of his wife.

He's asking that whoever has it to bring it to a police or fire station.  No questions asked.