WW2 Vet's Award Stolen, But A Stroke Of Luck Would Bring It Back

After fighting for his country in World War II, Col. Ralph Smith was the victim of a theft when his wife passed away.

When hosting a rummage sale at their home, a piece commemorating his time serving under the American flag was taken without his knowledge.

He hasn't seen this vintage war treasure in 15 years.

“They never would tell me, even when I went to court several times, what happened to it,” Smith said.

Col. Smith served as a member of the Tuskegee Airmen during the second World War. In 2003, Don Winton, created a bust of Smith and presented it to him as a gift for his service.

NBC Los Angeles

On April 7, Deputy Daniel Lobez pulled over 24-year-old Brian Sawyer as part of a routine stop for a minor traffic violation.

It was discovered that Sawyer was on felony probation and did not have a driver's licence.

Police then found drugs and weapons in the car and he was taken into custody. After obtaining a warrant, they searched his home.

At the residence they found more guns, drugs as well as the Smith sculpture.

How it came into Sawyer's possession is still unknown, but it has now been returned to it's rightful owner.

The bust had been missing for over 14 years.

Posted by The Press-Enterprise on Thursday, April 13, 2017

“I’m very glad to get the head bust back,” Smith said. “My daughter probably will look at it, and my grandkids — I had two grandkids since then — they’ll look at that bust and probably say, ‘Papa, what is that?’”

What an amazing piece of history!

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