WWII Veteran In Wahpeton Offers Reward For Stolen Jacket & Medals
A 94-year-old World War II Veteran from Wahpeton is now offering a reward for his stolen Army jacket.
Odin Stutrud tells Valley News Live he's been putting up missing posters in Wahpeton and Breckenridge and will offer a $200 reward for the return of his jacket and medals.
The items were stolen from his car on May 25th. Police say they have no new leads in the case.
Senator Hoeven's office has offered to replace the medals, but Stutrud says he's not sure if he'll take that offer yet.
Wahpeton, North Dakota's 94-year-old Odin Stutrud served in the United States Army from 1942 to 1946- two of those years in the Aleutian Islands fighting the Japanese in World War II.
Memories of his time in the service he carried with him in an item that was stolen last Sunday, May 25.
"The ribbons are on there, everything's on there: The awards, the battle star, everything," says Stutrud.
Proudly sewn on the jacket Stutrud earned as a United States Army Second Lieutenant.
"I was going to wear it to church, then decided the last minute it was hot and I'd leave it in the car," he says.
Stutrud says he folded his jacket put it on the seat, but what he didn't do was lock the door.
"The minute I opened the door...didn't see my coat... I thought well, that's it. And I'm sure that's true- we won't see it again," he says.
Stutrud was going to wear it the very next day- Memorial Day- as a tribute to family in the Naval Air Force and others who didn't make it home.
"Very good friends that didn't...In fact, my own brother-in-law, shot down just before the war ended," says Stutrud.
The fabric and metal are proud proof of where and how he served, but what that thief really took from him is so much more.
"The jacket itself is worthless. It's all the memories that are in that," he says.
Stutrud says he'd do anything to get the jacket back, but until then, this war he thinks he's lost.
Wahpeton, North Dakota police say they are doing everything they can to help Stutrud get his jacket returned to him. They are also working with U.S. Senator John Hoeven's (ND-R) office to get him replacement medals.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ A World War II Veteran of Wahpeton, North Dakota, is hoping someone has information about his decorated jacket that was stolen from him. Odin Stutrud says someone took the jacket from his car while he was at church the Sunday morning before Memorial Day.
The Wahpeton Police Department is investigating, but so far has no leads. Authorities don't gave a suspect description but are hoping they get lucky by checking area pawn shops. Stutrud suspects the thief may have been looking to make some easy cash by selling it, adding, no one will understand the sentimental value of the coat like he does.
The 94-year-old veteran says he's had the jacket for more than 70 years and during that time he earned medals, ribbons and stars that decorate the green coat. He says last year was the first time he fit into the jacket in about 30 years and he was planning to wear it to a Memorial Day ceremony on Monday.
Stutrud admits to Valley News Team's Mellaney Moore that he didn't lock his vehicle during the hour he was at church, thinking no one would want such a jacket. The Wahpeton Police Department says no one else has reported thefts in the area on that day. Anyone with information on the jacket or the suspect should call police at 701-642-7722.