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Hope Mills military widow's wedding rings stolen

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An Army Gold Star pin was stolen from McCloskey's apartment. An Army Gold Star pin was stolen from McCloskey's apartment.
Two Special Forces Gold Star pins were stolen from the apartment. Two Special Forces Gold Star pins were stolen from the apartment.
McCloskey's engagement ring was stolen along with the her and her late husband's wedding bands. McCloskey's engagement ring was stolen along with the her and her late husband's wedding bands.
HOPE MILLS, N.C. -

A military widow whose husband was killed while serving in Afghanistan has now lost precious mementos of him because of a thief.

Jessica McCloskey said some of the things stolen from her apartment recently were simply priceless. After her husband Shawn died while serving in the Army in Afghanistan in 2009, she'd kept their wedding bands in a special box. The burglar took them.

"It brought back so many memories of when I put them back in that blue box, why I put them back in the blue box," McCloskey said.

Her husband's ring was a tangible connection to him that's now lost. Also taken were the Gold Star pins given to her children at his memorial service.

"This man took their sense of security, and he took their memories," McCloskey said. "They remember getting those at the memorial service."

McCloskey said she actually saw the thief as she was coming home on Friday. They passed by each other right outside her apartment building as he was going to the parking lot. By the time she got to her door and realized it had been broken into, he was already getting away.

"He was carrying something [at his side], and I remember thinking it looked like my pajama pants, and I thought maybe we were getting new neighbors. It's about that time," McCloskey explained. "I got down to my door and realized I'd been broken into. I put two and two together and I chased after him as far as I could."

The burglar got away though. Since then she has seen her things listed for sale on Craigslist.

"They were there for 12-18 hours and the post was gone," McCloskey said.

So she's hoping to work with police to track down the seller. She also hopes others will be on the lookout for her things or that the thief will hear her story and decide to return those precious mementos.

WNCN included McCloskey in a story last month when she and others were raising money to help teens who lost military parents. Now she's just trying to help her own children deal with what happened.

"Again it's not the money. It's the memory," she said.

Brandon Herring

Brandon is a North Carolina native and UNC alum who lives in Fayetteville, and covers Cumberland County and the Sandhills. Returning to North Carolina to work as a journalist is a dream come true for Brandon. More>>

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