New Leads in Theft Against Fallen Hero

By: Rosie Barresi, McKenzie Martin, Lauri Martin Email
By: Rosie Barresi, McKenzie Martin, Lauri Martin Email

The family of Senior Airman Bradley Smith is still begging for help finding the crooks who stole some of their fallen hero's belongings. Now some possible new leads are surfacing in the case. The El Paso County Sheriff's Office released pictures of a possible suspect vehicle.

To view the pictures taken from the surveillance video, click on the Photos tab.

As 11 News was the first to tell you Tuesday night, a bag full of Smith's things that were with him in Afghanistan were stolen out of his family's rental car while it was parked outside a Colorado Springs restaurant.

Smith's widow and mother came to Colorado Springs for his memorial which was held Wednesday at Fort Carson. Tiffany Smith, Bradley Smith's wife, lives in California. Paula Smith, Bradley’s mother, lives in Illinois. Both flew to the Springs to attend the memorial.

But on Tuesday afternoon when the two met up with a friend for lunch at the Golden Corral restaurant at Powers and Palmer Park, their rental car was broken into. Inside that car was a bag filled with things they had just gotten back from Afghanistan that belonged to Sr. Airman Smith. Inside the bag were his two laptops, his watch, wallet, camera, and dog tags. "Those dog tags were on him when he was killed," said Paula Smith who was in tears.

"Just absolutely heartbroken, I wake up everyday and just miss him more than anything in the whole world and those little things to remember him by like his wallet just mean the world to me and it's all gone," said Bradley’s widow, Tiffany Smith. The two met at the Air Force Base in San Antonio Texas and had been married for two years.

The crooks left nothing but a heap of shattered glass behind. "My gosh, what else can we take?" said Paula Smith as she sobbed. Bradley was her youngest boy. Now he's gone. He was killed January 3, 2010 by an I.E.D. along with three Fort Carson soldiers in Afghanistan. The four were the first military casualties of 2010.

"He was so kindhearted," said Tiffany Smith. Bradley Smith's wife had to bury her husband in January. Now that the last few things he ever held in his hands are gone, Tiffany turns to their daughter, 3-month-old Chloe, to remember her fallen hero. "Just please turn [the bag] back in. Please, please," both the women pleaded.

El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa released a statement saying they will use every resource possible to solve this crime.

The family is offering a $1,000 reward to anyone who can help them get Bradley's things back, things that are now memories of their fallen hero. Golden Corral has stepped up and is now offering to match that $1,000 reward. 11 News has also been contacted by a Master Sergeant in the Air Force, who has also offered to match the $1,000. That's a total of $3,000 for the return of Bradley's belongings to his family.

As for those new leads, the El Paso County Sheriff's Office says they are looking at that surveillance video they obtained of the parking lot where the theft happened. The only information obtained from the footage at this time is a description of the suspect vehicle. It is a dark, sport utility vehicle, possibly a Chevrolet Suburban, with running boards and a luggage rack.

Some finger prints were also left behind on the door handle of the car.

If you know anything about this theft, you're asked to call Crime Stoppers at 634-STOP.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Tym Location: Baltimore on Mar 15, 2010 at 09:59 AM
    TAWNY! Your comment doesn't deserve a response, so we're giving you MORE THAN YOU DESERVE! The issue is: these were military family members of a deceased service member, in transit. Yes, there were valuable items in the vehice, but they were only of worth to the family of this Sr. Airman, and NO ONE ELSE. Insurance could never cover their loss. You and your self-righteous, they-are-to-blame comment are not welcome by me!(30% disabled retired military)How about you retract your unfeeling, despicable comment?!
  • by Tym Location: Baltimore on Mar 15, 2010 at 09:42 AM
    Has anyone in his unit & chain of command recommended him for the highest award possible? Senior Airman Bradley Smith certainly deserves to be so honored. I think this should be expedited ASAP and let President Obama personnally make the award to his widow.
  • by Michelle Location: Fort Carson on Feb 24, 2010 at 01:09 PM
    Just return the items. Mail them to a police department. SOMETHING. All because someone doesn't want to get caught with a petty crime, they aren't willing to return the items. TERRIBLE
  • by Great News Location: Troy, Il on Feb 17, 2010 at 07:02 AM
    There has been one arrest and one warrant issued in the theft of Brad's possessions. No word on possessions being returned yet. Thank God.
  • by jared Location: cos on Feb 15, 2010 at 05:53 PM
    These sob's should be shot when found!
  • by John Location: Smith on Feb 13, 2010 at 03:18 PM
    Are there any new updates on this crime? The thief should be stung up by their toes!
  • by Jean Location: New Ringgold, PA on Feb 13, 2010 at 03:41 AM
    I can not believe someone is so low to steal from a dead Soldier. My heart goes out to the Smith family. As a mother of a Soldier who is station at Fort Carson. Please return his belongings so his daughter can have part of her daddy. I will be praying for your family Mrs. Smith and thank you for having a husband who served our country. God bless and take care.
  • by Mustafa Location: NE Springs on Feb 12, 2010 at 04:58 AM
    . I really, REALLY want these items returned, and I don't care if the thief is ever caught, as long as the items are returned, even if slightly damaged. So, if you're the thief, contact me, and I will act as an intermediary for you. I give my word that I won't turn you in. You give me the goods, I'll return them, I'll collect the reward, and I will even give you what's left of the reward money, after the damage you caused is repaired. I assume that you never would have hit this particular victim, if you knew the circumstances. I hate any crime, and this is an especially odious one, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt, if you will cooperate and do your part to make amends. I'm trusting that you feel remorse over hurting this new widow. Even if this makes me an accessory, and I have to spend a month in lockup, I want this damage undone ASAP. I can be reached through .
  • by Renee Location: Colorado Springs, C) on Feb 11, 2010 at 09:50 PM
    As a Army Wife myself.I can honestly say this is very sickening. I pray for the Smith family for the loss of a great solider and for the things that were stolen from them. I ask that God guide and protect them. For the jerks that did this, I hope you find it in your heart to do what is best and return the belonging!
  • by Anonymous on Feb 11, 2010 at 09:43 PM
    To the family of Bradley Smith. My heart goes out to you. I for one am very proud of the service men and women who fight to protect our freedom, and I support their efforts whole heartedly. I pray that God will turn the heart of the person who stole your loved ones personal items from you, and put it in his or her heart to return them. May God bless you all, and Thank you for your sons ultimate sacrifice.
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