Medals stolen as D-Day veteran underwent surgery returned: police

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. Wed Jun 11, 2014 1:02pm EDT

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. (Reuters) - A D-Day veteran who was held as a prisoner of war by the Nazis has been reunited with nine medals that were stolen from his New Mexico home while he underwent surgery, police said.

The medals, including a Bronze Star, have been returned to 89-year-old Roy Hopper, Albuquerque Police Department spokesman Simon Drobik said on Wednesday.

The burglary last month came days before veterans marked the 70th anniversary of the World War Two D-Day landings by Allied troops on France's Omaha Beach, which helped turn the tide against Nazi Germany.

Hopper was captured by the Nazis and held captive for nine months, media reported.

Drobik said a man tried to sell the medals at a local business, but the owner realized they were stolen.

"As the male offender was in the store an off-duty officer walked in and the offender fled and got scared and left the medals," Drobik said, adding that the suspect's fingerprints had been recovered.

Hopper did not immediately return a request for comment.

(Reporting by Joseph Kolb in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Writing by Eric M. Johnson; Editing by Alexandra Hudson and Sandra Maler)

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