THUNDERBOLT, Ga. -

A coastal Georgia man says a box containing the ashes of his wife of nearly 40 years was stolen by burglars.

When Grant Robinson, of Thunderbolt, came home Wednesday to eat lunch and let his dog out, he saw that burglars had broken through his front door and ransacked his home. While taking stock of the damage, Robinson noticed a heavy, locked mahogany box containing the ashes of his wife, Patricia, had been stolen from his home just east of Savannah.

Savannah Chatham police Capt. James Pierce said the burglars likely saw the expensive-looking box and thought gold or other valuables were inside. Authorities say a computer, jewelry and a television set were also stolen.

"I feel like someone's torn my right arm off and ripped my heart out," Robinson told the Savannah Morning News. "It was really hard to lose her once, and then to lose her now twice - it's really tough. It's awful."

Grant and Patricia Robinson were married for nearly 40 years when she died in December, Robinson said. He was planning to spread her ashes in St. Augustine, Fla., where the couple lived for more than 20 years and raised their children.

"I figured if we did it in August it would give her family in New England time to come down and have a big deal for her. Now, I've got nothing to spread. I feel like I've let her down. It's just very, very difficult," Robinson said.

Robinson's daughter, Kate, said the thought of her mother's ashes being in the hands of a stranger was nearly impossible to come to terms with.

"That's her. That's my mother," Kate Robinson said of the box containing the urn. "You have my mother with you; how would you feel if that was your mother or if that was your kid?"

Police ask tipsters to call CrimeStoppers at 912-234-2020.