DePaul assistant coach Billy Garrett returned from the Blue Demons' recent trip to France to find that everything in his Chicago home had been stolen earlier this week.
Garrett and his family, which includes his son Billy Jr., a DePaul recruit and a Morgan Park junior, and his wife Annissa, were in France for 11 days. While they were gone, thieves posing as a home moving company removed every belonging in their rented home in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood in broad daylight. Garrett estimated everything was valued around $500,000.
"It was cleared out," Garrett said by phone on Thursday. "They took everything. Someone knew we were gone. They came in with moving trucks. Our neighbors just thought we were moving."
Among the items stolen was memorabilia Garrett's father passed down to him. Garrett's father, Bill Garrett, was a legendary basketball player and coach in Indiana. The items included his father's Indiana Mr. Basketball ring, his 1947 high school state championship ring, his Harlem Globetrotters' jersey and a statue made by an Indiana artist depicting Garrett, his father and his son.
"It was priceless to us," Garrett said.
The thieves also stole a medical machine Billy Jr. uses to control a rare form of sickle cell disease he has.
Garrett was worried most about how his son would handle what had happened to them.
"The hardest thing is to worry about how it's going to affect my son socially and mentally," Garrett said. "You don't want to be victimized like that, but you can replace a TV or a couch. You're trying to teach kids to do the right thing and grow up the right way. I don't want him to be an angry teenager or an angry adult because he's been victimized and violated."
The Garrett family is currently living with family in the area. Garrett has also continued his job at DePaul while the investigation is ongoing.
"The world doesn't stop because we got victimized," Garrett said. "I still got to work. I still got to recruit. I'm trying to get guys on campus. You got to move on."
Garrett was hopeful the thieves would be caught and his possessions would be returned.
"I have confidence in the Chicago Police Department," Garrett said. "In a city like this where you have major crime happening all the time, they're the ones who are going to make the difference."
Scott Powers covers high school and college sports for ESPNChicago.com and can be reached at email@example.com.