When Sharyn Grossman, who lives in Greenport, went up to the attic to retrieve her family's beloved inherited silver set for a Passover celebration, she was devastated to find that it had been stolen.
Grosman, who also lives part-time in New York, said when she returned to Greenport last weekend she found that the silver had been taken out of her home, but nothing else.
The silver, she said, is not only valuable, worth $10,000, but holds great sentimental value.
"My husband's mother's family was from Baltimore. Fannie and Stanley married in the late 20s or early 30s," she said. "They were given a service of Kirk's Repousse pattern. Kirk was a producer of sterling silver and was based in Baltimore. When we married in 1967 the silver was given to us."
Over the years, Grossman said, she added place settings whenever she found them, and had amassed somewhere between 16 and 18 place settings, which she used over the years to lovingly set tables for holiday celebrations.
Grossman said she also collected many sterling serving pieces, including those of other patterns beside the Repousse. Having been in in the antique business when she was younger, Grossman also collected, with the serving pieces, 16 sterling piecrust napkin rings.
"All of this was in my attic in an open cardboard carton in two large wooden silver chests," Grossman said. "I always left it in the attic so it would not get stolen if someone came in the house. I always use the silver at holiday times and I was getting ready for Passover and went up to the attic this past weekend."
Many cartons had been moved in the attic after damage was sustained to the roof after Hurricane Sandy, she said.
Grossman said she has her suspicions regarding who might have swiped the silver; she reported the incident to the Southold Town police as soon as the theft was discovered.
Southold Town Police Chief Martin Flatley said a report was filed on Sunday.
"The carton with the silver was the only thing taken from a 16-room house," Grossman said. "Nothing else was disturbed."
Grossman said her main goal is to bring her family heirloom home. "I have told the police that I would not press charges if the silver miraculously reappeared. Even if I got the money, it would not replace the stolen objects which I planned to pass on to my children."
She added that the theft touches a deep emotional chord. "I'm trying to pay attention to what I always told my children -- that's it's only money, and if it can be replaced by money, it's not that bad. It could be cancer. But it hurts."
Even if she were to recover "every penny" through insurance, the funds wouldn't fill the hole left by the silver, which holds a lifetime of memories centered on family meals and holiday gatherings, Grossman said.
Grossman is offering a $500 reward for information leading to the recovery of her silver. Authorities, she said, are checking shops that buy and sell gold and silver. Suffolk County, she added, has a possession reclamation unit that checks such businesses for stolen goods.
But, Grossman fears her silver might never be located. "They might just melt it down. And then, it's all over," she said.