Probation officer replaces stolen medals for New Bedford vet’s family

FALL RIVER, MA (WHDH) - A probation officer pitched in to help out the family of a New Bedford veteran, spending his own money to replace his stolen medals from World War II.

While Army veteran Frederick Sylvia was a resident at an assisted living facility a few years ago, police said his caregiver stole his military medals and pawned them. They were never recovered.

Fall River Assistant Chief Probation Officer Mark Costa, who was the probation officer of someone involved with the theft, said he wanted to help Sylvia’s family. Costa, a veteran himself, requested replacement medals from Veterans Affairs. Around 18 months later, Costa received the medals.

Sylvia requested that he be buried with his medals but he passed away before the replacements were issued. His relatives never had the heart to tell him that the original medals were stolen.

“The silver lining to this is we can continue to keep his memory alive and the service he’s done for our country,” said Costa.

Costa will travel to Florida on Wednesday to visit Sylvia’s family and personally hand-deliver the medals to them.

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