New Leads in Theft Against Fallen Hero

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