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Sailor's Military Memorabilia Stolen While Away Overseas; Suspect Arrested

DENAIR (CBS13) - A sailor serving overseas was the victim of a burglary of military memorabilia back home, leading the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department to put a "bounty" out for the suspect.

Right now Navy Chief Petty Officer Tim Fanning is in Afghanistan fighting for our country, and what this burglar took doesn't have a price tag, because its priceless - from his personalized Iraqi war canteen to his very special Samari sword.

Nearly Tim's entire collection of war memorabilia from the last 10 years was stolen from his Denair home.

Family friend Patti Utz still can't believe someone would stoop that low.

"To steal from anybody but then to steal from someone who's out of the country and can't do anything about it and to make them feel helpless," Utz said. "The canteen and the little shot glass, and those are just memories for Tim from when he served, and they are meaningful to him."

His 12-year-old daughter Emilee found the home in 4600 Block of Sioux Dr. ransacked Tuesday.

"Like the sword I was really, really scared, 'cause it's a sword and he bought it himself," she said.

Frustrated, Tim called the sheriff's department from Afghanistan on Wednesday morning asking for extra patrols.

Sheriff Adam Christianson put his Crime Reduction Team on the case and offered an incentive.

"It was a bounty, it was the sheriff's bounty," he said. "My bounty was pizza and refreshments for the first team who finds this guy and recovers Chief's Fanning's stolen property."

And within hours, results.

"Let's just say I changed directions from one investigation to this investigation," Detective Jesse Ruelas said.

After some knocks on doors and lengthy interviews, neighbor Douglas Yates, 23, was arrested for the crime. Investigators say Yates admitted to the crime and that he knew Tim was deployed overseas. All of the sailor's priceless keepsakes were recovered and returned to the family.

Tim spoke to CBS13 from Afghanistan.

"I want to express my sincerest gratitude and my upmost respect for everything that they did," he said.

His daughter wants to thank them too.

"I'm actually going to give this coin," she said.

It's a coin she got from her father that stands for appreciation.

"Just thank you," she said. "I really appreciate it."

Tim's family will be keeping his priceless possessions secure at their house until he returns.

As for the sheriff, he's got date coming up to buy his guys that pizza.

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