NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island man is asking whoever took a Purple Heart and dog tags belonging to his grandfather to simply bring them back.

James McGuigan, the owner of the machine shop Concept Components in Bohemia, said the items were stolen between 9 p.m. on Oct. 27 and 5:40 a.m. on Oct. 28. The World War II memorabilia belonged to McGuigan’s grandfather, Francis McGuigan, and was proudly placed in a shadow box and mounted on his office wall.

McGuigan said his grandfather gave him the items before he passed away in 2002 at the age of 79.  He says his grandfather was a U.S. Army Ranger during WWII and was part of one of the first forces to land on D-Day.

“He was a great man,” McGuigan told CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez. “Going back to when he was in the service, he was a hero to me.”

McGuigan is pleading with the burglar to make the only honorable move.

“Just bring it back — I don’t care who you are or what it was all about. Just, if you could, please just drop it off and, you know, and I’ll chuck it off as a loss. I just don’t want them tossed in a wood or just some kid wearing them around his neck. No one has a right to wear those except for my grandfather,” he told 1010 WINS.

McGuigan said the culprits smashed a large window and pulled off screens before they were able to get into the building. He said the thief or thieves likely noticed a motion detector and “grabbed what was on the wall.”

“The medals I can replace.  You can always replace a medal.  But those tags, you can’t replace those tags.  Those were his tags he wore through all his years in service,” he said.

francis mcguigan tag L.I. Man Says Thieves Stole His Grandfathers Purple Heart, Dog Tags

A dog tag belonging to the grandson of Francis McGuigan (credit: handout)

McGuigan said being burglarized was like losing his grandfather all over again.

“It probably has no monetary value. It’s a personal item of mine that I received from my family when my grandfather died. And it’s one of the few things I have left of him,” James McGuigan said.

WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall On The Story

Detectives are asking anyone who may have information about this incident to contact the Fifth Squad at 631-854-8552 or anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. All calls will remain confidential.  Officials are also offering a $5,000 reward for the return of the items.

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