Medals given to Cpl. Christopher Bordoni, the U.S. Marine from Ithaca, N.Y., who died from wounds suffered in Afghanistan, and his family were stolen during a break-in at his widow's North Carolina home.
Jessica Bordoni discovered the burglary when she came home Wednesday evening in Wilmington, N.C., and saw that the back door and a bedroom window were broken, according to Christopher Bordoni's father, Tim Bordoni, and mother, Carol Bordoni Sprague, both of Ithaca.
The thief or thieves took Christmas presents under the tree, earrings, a watch, clothes and other items, according to a Wilmington police incident report. But the biggest losses were Corporal Bordoni's Purple Heart and Achievement Medal with Valor awarded by the U.S. Marine Corps.
Christopher Bordoni died April 3, 2012, of wounds sustained the previous Jan. 18 while conducting combat operations in Afghanistan.
"You don't know what sentimental value there is to jewelry, but when you see medals — you know, medals came with a price," Tim Bordoni said. "It's just unconscionable for someone to do that."
Steps are being taken to replace the medals, but it won't be the same, the Bordonis said.
"The Purple Heart was pinned on Christopher's bandages in the hospital just minutes before he died. The Marine Corps Achievement Medal of valor was presented to the family just a couple hours after we laid him to rest," his mother said.
Also taken was Corporal Bordoni's memorial rifle, one special-ordered by his unit, according to his mother.
"We just hope that whoever did this finds it in their heart to somehow get them back to the family," she said.
The theft has been publicized in Wilmington and reports have circulated on social media, but no one has come forward with information about the medals, Tim Bordoni said.
Tim Bordoni said it sounded like a grab-and-go robbery, perhaps by thieves looking for money for drugs, but they also left a large TV set, probably because it was too large to easily carry out of the house.
Jessica was able to stay with her mother in the Wilmington area and has installed a security system, he added.
Christopher Bordoni grew up in Ithaca, graduating from Ithaca High School in 2008. He served two tours in Afghanistan between 2009 and 2012. He was deployed for a second time in April 2011 and was expected to return home in the beginning of February 2012. His funeral in his hometown drew hundreds, and his family dedicated the Chris Bordoni Fitness Trailhead at the Cayuga Waterfront Trail in his honor.