Theft of military memorabilia at Naples museum

Posted at 7:42 PM, Apr 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-27 08:38:28-04

NAPLES, Fla. - An ongoing theft of service medals and other military memorabilia was reported to police Tuesday at a military museum located in the terminal of Naples Municipal Airport.

The museum's president, Bob McDonald, said the thefts had apparently been going on for years. He began to suspect a formerly trusted associate after families kept coming to the museum to see what what they had donated for display, such as service medals, and often not finding them.

"(I would) show them the list and say 'this is all I know of that we got,'" McDonald said. "And then they would say, 'No, there was more stuff than that.'"

World War II veteran Harold Leavitt's B-29 bomber was shot down over Japan in 1945, and he spent six months as a POW. He said it's hardly conceivable that anyone who was in the service - or even had a veteran in the family - would steal memorabilia meant for a military museum.

"They're stealing their valor," Leavitt said. "The family has given them these memorabilia so other people could see what others have sacrificed their lives for. And to steal that...I can't conceive of it."

McDonald said the museum's board decided to press charges against the suspected associate, who he declined to name.

"You never know somebody, I guess," he said.