Vietnam War medals stolen from Fresno Veteran

FRESNO, Calif.

Fresno Police say the burglars ransacked the veteran's home in southeast Fresno and stole precious medals he earned while serving in the Vietnam War. Police have very few leads at this point.

Thieves stole more than $5,000 worth of items from Joe Torres' home and they also took his military medals. He says all that matters now is getting those priceless mementos back. "All this thing was broken. All this piece was broken completely down."

Joe Torres shows Fresno Police investigators the damage left behind after burglars kicked down his front door. The long time maintenance man noticed it was open when he came home Tuesday afternoon. "My heart started pounding about a thousand miles a minute. I don't get nervous, I don't get tongue-tied but that kind of shook me up a little bit."

By the time Torres made his way around the house he realized thieves had taken his 47-inch flat screen TV, a computer, and thousands of dollars worth of jewelry including wedding rings. "The drawer was open, my underwear was sticking out. Give me a break you know."

But the most valuable items taken by the crooks were a handful of medals Torres got from his time in the Marines during the Vietnam War.

Emotions got the best of him once he found out they were gone. "They broke my heart. They just shattered my heart because you know it just meant so much to me."

Investigators say none of Torres' neighbors saw any suspicious activity around his home that day. And they can only guess as to why the thieves stole Torres' war medals.

"I think they just took them because maybe they thought that they were something that was unusual. They thought maybe it was, would bring them some value but these things are only valuable to this victim." said Sgt. Mark Hudson.

"Just return them. Just return them. Because to me they mean a lot. To you they don't mean nothing." said Torres.

Thieves stole Torres' Vietnam ribbon, combat medal and good conduct medal.

Torres plans to install an alarm within the next few days.

If you have any information on this case you're urged to contact Fresno Police.

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