Jonathan Cochran had planned last Friday night over the last few months.
A helicopter ride. A romantic dinner. A primetime showing of “American Sniper” at the Mall of Georgia.
“When the movie was over, we went back out to the car, and that’s when he intended to pop the big question,” said Hillary Addison, who celebrated her one-year anniversary with Cochran in October.
But when Cochran and Addison returned to his 2010 Chevrolet Camaro, Cochran discovered his bag — with the ring inside — was gone.
“He started getting really upset, and he was starting to cry, and I told him, “It’s OK. It’s OK,’” Addison said. “And he said, ‘Your ring was in there.’”
Unknown to Addison, Cochran had started making payments months before on a ring she had loved. The pearl ring symbolized the purity the two envisioned for their lives, having rededicated themselves to God in July, Addison said.
“Both of us just looked at it as an opportunity to share a testimony. It was just symbolic of the type of relationship that we have,” she said.
Cochran gave Addison a coupon voucher at Christmas for a helicopter ride with a romantic evening for two.
“I was cashing in my coupon, just thinking we were having a date day, and he obviously had other plans,” Addison said.
As a Marine veteran, having served four years with a tour in Iraq and Afghanistan, Cochran’s choice for a movie was “American Sniper.”
The car, with an alarm system and dark-tinted windows, was broken into, with Addison’s purse and Cochran’s bookbag stolen, Addison said. Inside Cochran’s bag was $900, a tablet computer and the ring with some other personal belongings.
The couple has learned insurance will only cover up to $250 in personal property after the break-in.
“Unless our things are recovered, then there’s no way to get the cost of any of it or get any of it replaced,” Addison said.
The first reaction to the news, Addison said, was to comfort Cochran.
“I just immediately felt for him, because I could see the work he put into it and all the effort he put in building up to that moment,” she said. “I was heartbroken. It didn’t really seem real honestly until earlier (Monday), so I haven’t really had a chance to digest the fact that I would be engaged right now.”
Gwinnett County police responded to the break-in, and Addison filed a report with Mall of Georgia security the next morning.
The couple stressed they were not looking for any sort of charity after the incident.
“There’s no way to get that moment back,” Addison said. “The opportunity is gone. That whole moment can’t be replaced, but it would be nice to at least