Local News

Box filled with veteran's mementos stolen

Posted August 19, 2008 4:30 p.m. EDT
Updated August 19, 2008 6:14 p.m. EDT

— A Fayetteville doctor has offered a reward to recover some mementos that were stolen from his home last month.

Thieves used a ladder to climb on top of the covered back porch at Dr. Tinsley Rucker's Torcross Drive home on July 19 and break in through a bathroom window, police said.

"Somebody, obviously, was watching us. They knew we were both gone and very quickly went in the house," Rucker said. "We've never had a break-in in this area. Our neighbors have never had a break-in."

He didn't realize he had been burglarized until that night.

"When I looked at my dresser, I found that my coin jar on my dresser was gone," he said, adding that a laptop computer also was missing.

The biggest loss was a lock box he kept in a closet in his home office, he said. It contained the Bible he carried to Vietnam when he was in the Army, a diary he kept there, his military dog tags and letters from his mother.

"I had my West Point class ring (in the box). I graduated in 1969, (and) that ring is gone," he said. "My mother's wedding band was in there."

Rucker also had copies of letters from Civil War ancestors in the box. On the closet floor, he found an empty holster and knew that two revolvers that belonged to Gen. Douglas MacArthur's personal doctor also had been stolen.

"These mementos, their street value is not great, but the value to me and my family is enormous," he said.

He has been working with police to try to solve the case and has distributed fliers offering a $3,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

Rucker said he also considered paying a ransom to the thieves to recover his mementos, but he said his ancestors wouldn't have approved of the idea.

"To give a ransom is encouraging somebody to steal things and try to sell it back," he said.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Fayetteville Police Department.