Stolen medals are returned to veteran's brother


KALISPELL, Mont. - Greg Smith showed NBC Montana how much effort went into returning these medals pretty close to mint condition for him.

"They went above and beyond for what they needed to do, and that was really special for me," said Smith.

He is talking about the Kalispell Police Department. Once the stolen medals were recovered, they were sent to Northwest Territorial Mint in Texas where they were cleaned and refurbished for free. Other items that were not found were replaced like the dog tags and the chest plate.

"Like I said, I couldn't be more pleased with the way everything came out. I thank the officers and all the people involved," said Smith

The medals were Smith's brother's. He was a Vietnam veteran. They were on display in a shadow box in his store when they were stolen in early January. The suspect, Sean Smith, reportedly tried to pawn the medals off at Over the Hill Gang Pawn Shop.

Kalispell police say it was thanks to the community and local pawn shops like the Over the Hill Gang in Evergreen that the medals were returned so quickly.

"We had a lot of support from the community, a lot of people calling in wanting to help, offering tips," said Officer David Massie.

"Had guys coming in here with their own medals wanting to give me their medals," said Smith.

Many officers say that this case was special to them.

"This whole thing just kind of grew on its own. Everybody took interest in it. There's lots of law enforcement people who are vets and I think they took it to heart and they wanted to help out anyway they could."

Massie was pleased with how it ended.

"Giving them back to him was neat to see how satisfied he was to get them," said Massie.

Smith is just happy to have the memory of his brother back.