NEW BEDFORD (CBS) – The father of a young marine killed in Iraq says he’s heartbroken after someone stole a purple heart medal and special coin from his home.

“I just can’t understand why they would steal them,” said Joseph Ford.

The government gave Ford the medal seven years ago, after notifying him that his son, 19-year-old Michael Ford had been killed as he drove a tank over a bomb.

“The Marines were at my house at 12:30 in the morning,” he said. “There’s no way, no way to describe that as a parent.”

Last weekend, a neighbor saw a strange man lurking around the home, which now is temporarily vacant because of a broken pipe.

“I saw him checking out the back window, so I asked him what he was doing there,” said Manny Cardoza. “I ended up calling the cops. They came by about five, 10 minutes later. They searched the house around, but didn’t find anything broken into.”

But it appears the thief returned sometime before Tuesday and ransacked the inside of the home.

Ford says he’s missing a valuable stamp collection, metal pipes, wires, the purple heart medal, and also a purple heart coin.

Police say the medal has no street value.

Ford says he had to make a list of stolen items and what each was worth. Next to the purple heart medal he wrote, “priceless.”

He hopes someone will have a conscience and return the one small thing he says gives him comfort in the midst of great loss.


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