L.I. Man Gets Replacements for Family's Stolen War Medals

Jim McGuigan's grandfather's war medals were passed down to him years ago, but were stolen from his office last month

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Jim McGuigan had hoped that whoever stole his grandfather's collection of war medals would come forward. But for now, he will graciously accept a new collection from the government. News4's Erika Tarantal reports. (Published Monday, Nov 28, 2011)

    A Long Island business owner who had family heirlooms stolen from his office last month was given replacements Monday by the government.

    Jim McGuigan, of Bohemia, N.Y., accepted the replacements to the stolen World War II medals, passed down in his family from his grandfather.

    "I think nowadays people don't realize really what was sacrificed back then," McGuigan said.

    He said he doesn't think the thief, who still has not been caught, realized what he or she stole: Medals honoring true courage, including a Purple Heart, and a photo of his grandfather.

    Francis Patrick McGuigan, who died in 2002, served in World War II, and fought terrifying odds on D-Day.

    “They hit the beaches and they were supposed to go up the cliffs to take out large artillery guns," said Jim McGuigan, "and at the end of that day, there were only six of his guys together, so he was six of 60.”

    Congressman Steve Israel, who presented the replacements to McGuigan, said, "His grandfather was a part of history, and his fingerprints are all over our freedoms today."

    Israel said his office got reports of at least two other similar thefts on Long Island the week McGuigan's medals vanished from his wall. He now wants to toughen penalties for people who impersonate war heroes.

    As for McGuigan, he couldn't be more thankful for the replacements but still hopes the originals are returned -- at the very least, his grandfather's dogtags which, to him, are priceless.

    "If they could end up on my doorstep, it'd be greatly appreciated," said McGuigan. "Even if you just brought me back the dogtags."

    Along with the medals that were stolen, Israel presented Jim McGuigan with several additional medals that his grandfather was entitled to but didn't know about.

    McGuigan said he'll be keeping the new medals in a more secure location.