MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — Police are looking for the person who stole priceless World War II memorabilia off a warship docked in downtown Muskegon.
The USS LST 393 once carried thousands of soldiers. Now a veterans museum, it’s home to thousands of war artifacts. Staff says that last week, some of those items went missing.
The staff posted a surveillance image on Facebook showing the man they say police want to talk to in connection to the theft. The nonprofit group says the man stole hats, buttons, medals, patches and other items that were on display.
“First they took the hat that was up here, they took the insignia on her sleeve, they took a couple buttons,” museum manager Ike Villalpando said as he looked over Margaret Tolar’s Air Force uniform on display.
Tolar served in the Air Force in the 1940s. Several of the pins and patches were taken directly off her uniform.
“Every once in a while you’ll see an article about people desecrating a gravestone. I used to feel bad for those people, now I can empathize,” Tolar’s son Jim Korbecki said as he looked at his mother’s uniform.
“First reaction was anger, second reaction was disappointment. Why would somebody do that?” Korbecki said.
Korbecki said the uniform is not only a point of pride for his mother but also signified history for their family: the service is the way his parents met.
“Each display in this museum represents a life, represents sacrifice,” Korbecki said. “ I just want it back.”
Anyone who recognizes the suspect is encouraged to call Muskegon police at 231.724.6750.