Crime Stoppers, NCIS seek help from community on recent theft

8 Dec 2011 | Cpl. Damany S. Coleman

After the 2011 Warrior Games at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., where service members from every branch competed in sports such as basketball, swimming, volleyball and track, Marines from Wounded Warrior Battalion - East competed in the archery competition and placed well.

These Marines often take trips to the base's archery range, using the very same archery equipment at the Warrior Games, to get out of the barracks, spend time with friends and family, and relax: arguably some of the best medicine anyone could administer for a recovering service member.

Sadly, these 16 competition bows - worth approximately $30,000 - went missing during a weeklong archery competition Oct. 26, according to officials with Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

Carlos Castro, a special agent with NCIS, said the bows were discovered missing during an archery competition the battalion was hosting.

"They are completion target bows, bright red, single purpose," said Castro. "Anyone who sees these high-end target shooting bows, which are extremely expensive, will (notice they) look out of place."

The internationally-recognized Crime Stoppers program was established more than a decade ago, in 2000, and has since then put out bumper stickers, bookmarks and pocket calendars at schools and military installations in order to spread the word.

The program, which now covers all of Onslow County plus all local Marine Corps installations, receives numerous tips to their hotline each month, many of which result in arrests.

Joe Yannessa, chairman with the program, said some of those crimes seem more egregious than others because of three things: the nature of the crime, identity of the victims or the impact on the community.

"The theft of these high-value competition bows from the Wounded Warrior Battalion - East is one such crime which warrants a high level of concern, empathy and heightened outrage within our military and civilian community," said Yannessa. "We certainly believe that someone in the area knows something about this theft. If it takes either the anonymous feature of the program, where you never have to give your name, or the reward of up to $2,500 to bring forward information, then the intended purpose of Crime Stoppers will be fulfilled."

Those with information are asked to contact NCIS Resident Agency Camp Lejeune at 451-8600 or give an anonymous call to the Jacksonville-Onslow County Crime Stoppers at 938-3273.