War veteran makes public plea for stolen picture

VIDEO: Veteran's plea for stolen wallet, photo

UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. — A University Place military veteran hopes the public can help him track down a stolen photo and the thief who took it.

John Zoril, 83, has carried a photo of his wife, Mary, in his wallet since 1951. It was taken before they even wed, and Zoril said it helped him get through the Korean and Vietnam wars.

“There are many times I’d take it out while I was in Korea,” he said, “just sit there and look at her and stare at her, hoping she'd be there when I got back. She was there.”

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Zoril said it was the only photo he ever carried with him.

“It was part of my heart,” he said.

But on Sunday, January 25th, that photo and wallet were stolen at the Walgreens on Cirque Drive West.

Lauren Wallin with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office shared the surveillance video with KIRO 7.

It shows Zoril walk up to the checkout counter with a cart, holding his wallet in one hand and his credit card in the other.

He put his wallet on the counter as he swiped the credit card to pay for some soda.

Then he walked off, forgetting the wallet under the payment machine.

A minute later, the suspect walks up and without hesitation put the wallet into his pocket.

“He may have actually been watching the victim set it down or waiting to see if someone returned it before grabbing the wallet,” Wallin said.

Zoril said he rushed back to the Walgreens after discovering at home that his wallet was missing, but a clerk checked the surveillance video and told him it had been stolen.

He said he cried as he told his wife the precious photo had been taken. He hopes the photo released by the sheriff’s office will lead to the thief’s arrest.

“I would tell him, you've taken part of my life with you!” Zoril said. “All those years, with that picture.”

But more than that, Zoril just wants his photo back.

“I’ll probably never get it back,” he said. “But I hope I do. I hope I do.”

Wallin said if anyone believes they know the person in the photo, they can call Crime Stoppers at (253) 591-5959 and provide a tip anonymously.

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