Stolen hat recovered in time for military funeral honors

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Grand Rapids family has recovered a special hat stolen from a car over the weekend.

The unlocked vehicle was sitting in a driveway in the Boston Square area south of Hall Street SE.

Navy Reserve Lt. Andrew Honore had his dress blues in the car, which he wears to perform honors duties at veterans’ funerals.

Honore’s wife found the hat Monday afternoon, about an hour after WOOD TV8 posted a story about it being stolen online. 

The thief had tossed it into some grass a block away from the Honore’s home. The hat was still in good condition in its case, which had been unzipped.

The thief likely discarded it upon realizing it had little to no monetary value.

The family says the theft occurred late Saturday night or early Sunday morning.

The hat, or “cover” as it’s referred to in the military, had been sitting on the front seat of the family’s car inside a black zippered case.

When Andrew Honore got into his vehicle Sunday morning, he discovered someone had rifled through the console and glovebox, leaving items strewn across the front seats and floor.

The Honores, who had accidentally left the car unlocked, were relieved to see the thief had not taken Andrew’s dress blues, which were still hanging in the back seat.

But they soon realized the hat that goes with the uniform was missing.  

Honore, a chaplain in the Navy Reserve, was part of the honors detail for the funeral last week of a Kalamazoo sailor whose remains were recently returned to West Michigan.

Joe Nightingale was laid to rest in Fort Custer Cemetery in Augusta on Dec. 7, 2021, 80 years to the day after Pearl Harbor.

Honore was grateful to be part of the honors detail for the funeral of the seaman 1st class from Kalamazoo, who was among the 429 crewmen who died when the USS Oklahoma was attacked at Pearl Harbor.   

The Honores reported the theft to Grand Rapids Police, who say there’s been a slight uptick in vehicle larcenies in the last month on Grand Rapids’ southeast side.

That’s not unusual for this time of year.

GRPD urges you to keep your vehicles locked.

Andrew and Mary Honore will be doing just that going forward.

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