Thursday, May 28, 2009

Return the medals

This is a crying shame and a slap in the face.

Please call and help if you have any information.

Anyone with any information is encouraged to call the New Braunfels Police Department at (830) 608-2179.

Marine loses 9 medals after vehicle break-in

- The Herald-Zeitung

As U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Chris Stokes walked back to his car after a relaxing river float with his wife on Memorial Day, he discovered broken glass and that he had been robbed of nine irreplaceable objects: his medals honoring his military service.

The windows of Stokes’ Chevrolet Tahoe SUV were smashed Monday night at the Recreation Center parking lot in Landa Park.

Cell phones, wallets, purses and his military honor medals were among the things stolen, he said.

He said nine medals — a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement, Iraqi Combat Medal, Marine Combat Action medals and others — were taken out of his glove box while he was floating the Comal River between 2:30 and 8:30 p.m. Monday.

They were still in his car after a weekend Color Guard demonstration in San Antonio, he said.

“It’s ironic that someone would steal something like this on that type of holiday,” Stokes said.

“It’s just very disappointing.”

He said the action was a slap in the face on a holiday he considers very important.

“There are several young men and women who go above and beyond,” he said. “Some of them have given their lives for this country. It’s just sad and ironic that someone would do this on Memorial Day.”

Stokes was in town for the holiday weekend visiting his in-laws. He said he was a recruiter at the New Braunfels Marine station for years, but now lives and works in Victoria.

Stokes’ mother-in-law, Dana Lehman, said she was shocked by the act. She said Stokes’ service was a source of pride.

“He’s been a Marine for about nine years,” Lehman said. “He had two tours in Afghanistan and one in Iraq. I think this is something people need to hear about. Those are medals he earned fighting for this country.”

Stokes filed a police report and has been checking up with local pawn shops for any signs of the gold-plated medals, he said.

New Braunfels Police Department spokesman Lt. Michael Penshorn said officers are actively following the case.

“There is someone assigned to the case and we’re following up on it,” Penshorn said. “We’re checking with the pawn shops too and any other leads we can get.”

He said NBPD currently did not have any leads on the case.

Though cars are often burglarized, Penshorn said this was a rare case.

“We don’t usually have very many vehicle burglaries in the park since there’s so many people around,” he said.

Anyone with any information is encouraged to call the New Braunfels Police Department at (830) 608-2179.