Archive for Thursday, December 2, 2004

Discovery of theft dampens reservist’s homecoming

December 2, 2004

Home is supposed to be a welcome sight for those returning from service in Iraq.

For Leslie Ward of rural Lansing, the homecoming was bittersweet.

It certainly was heartwarming to be back home with his wife, Carol, just before the holidays. Ward, a member of the Reserves, left for Iraq in January 2003. Injured in Baghdad, Ward spent the last eight months recuperating at a base in Texas. He finally came home about two weeks ago.

But when Ward, a part-time farmer, ventured into his equipment building on Nov. 16 he was taken aback.

A tractor and six other farm implements worth nearly $9,000 had been stolen from his barn.

The 52-year-old Ward said the theft came as an absolute shock.

"I can't pinpoint the time of the loss, so that makes it even worse," Ward said.

The equipment wasn't insured, and Ward has no leads on suspects, either.

Leslie Ward found his barn had been broken into while he was serving overseas

Leslie Ward found his barn had been broken into while he was serving overseas

"The only thing I can do is slowly try to replace that stuff," said Ward, who also raises cattle. "But that's not going to happen overnight for me anyway."

Missing equipment included a load-in tractor and disk plow and rake.

Carol Ward had been home during her husband's 22 months away, but she never saw anyone trespassing on the family's property. Leslie said the barn is "some distance from the house."

A retired employee of the Lansing Correctional Facility, where his wife still works, Ward also has worked with Rees Contractors of Kansas City, Kan.

Ward, who will not be returning to Iraq, said he hoped to work again for Rees.

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