A year ago, U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Chris Stokes was tubing in New Braunfels. His vehicle, parked at the Landa Park Rec Center, was broken into while he and his wife were on the river.
Among the items stolen -- Stokes' Marine honor medals. Bummer of a thing to happen, on Memorial Day of all days.
New Braunfels police pursued the case, taking a blood sample from Stokes' car and sending it to DPS for analysis.
In April the DPS lab came back with results and a name for the suspect.
And then came last weekend when, as the NBPD puts it:
On May 29, 2010, while working Memorial Day weekend river duty on the Comal River, [a] New Braunfels Police Officer...recognized the person that was listed in the arrest warrants while the suspect was walking in the area of the Landa Recreation Center, 164 Landa Park Dr., which ironically is the same location as the vehicle burglary last year on Memorial Day weekend.
It's a Memorial Day miracle!
The suspect, Gilbert Roland Ramirez of New Braunfels, "was found to be in possession of several items of personal property, including several wallets and cell phones that did not belong to him," police say.
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Further investigation found the medals. NBPD says Stokes is no longer in the Marines, but they are working to reunite him with his awards.
Ramirez was arrested and charged with criminal mischief; burglary of a motor vehicle; and charges dealing with false ID and debit-credit card abuse.
Additional charges may be added, police say, if the items found on Ramirez' person at his arrest are determined to have been stolen.
Even if he gets out on bond, we suggest Ramirez stay away from Landa Park next Memorial Day.