EAST MEADOW, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A World War II veteran was robbed of some treasured war memorabilia when, police say, a thief crawled through a window to steal his vintage military items.
As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, Angelo Ciotta, who is almost 92, was wounded and survived the Battle of Iwo Jima, and after recently retiring, the proud Marine has dedicated his time as a service volunteer.
“What I’m really upset about is the fact that we were violated,” said Ciotta, of East Meadow, Long Island. “I’m in bed. My wife is in bed. And we’re not young kids.
“They came in through this kitchen window. They stacked two picnic benches, one on top of the other.”
The Ciottas may have spooked the robber, who fled out the back door.
“It was ajar like that,” Ciotta said.
But before the thief escaped, police say, he grabbed military items — such as a Marine Ka-Bar knife, an officer ceremonial sword and a vintage World War I Hamburg rifle
“It is sentimental to me because, as I say, it was presented to me, and it’s engraved with my name on it, my rank, my military service, where I served — again, I’m an Iwo Jima survivor,” Ciotta said.
CBS2 visited Long Island’s Air Power Museum, where such rare artifacts are kept, to see Marine memorabilia similar to Ciotta’s pilfered collectibles.
Ironically, Ciotta was bequeathing the items to Eisenhower Park’s new veterans museum, which Ciotta and other Nassau County volunteers helped establish and was dedicated just two weeks ago.
Now they are trying to solve a crime.
“The detectives seem to think that maybe he figured he got the rifle, he got that, and he scored — he was going to get out,” Ciotta said. “Anything else was too heavy for him to cover.”
Nassau detectives are scouring pawn shops in search of the military artifacts and are urging anyone with information to contact them.