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Vietnam veteran's stolen Purple Heart returned after 38 years

Nov. 12 (UPI) -- A Vietnam War veteran whose Purple Heart was stolen from his home in 1983 was reunited with the precious item when another man spotted it at a yard sale.

Gus Albritton, 71, of Dublin, Ga., said he earned three Purple Hearts for his service in Vietnam, but one was stolen 38 years ago while he was living in Florida.

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"I was burglarized, and during the burglary, I had this large 5-gallon glass water bottle," Albritton told WMGT-TV. "I had change, money, jewelry, pocket knives, and I put my purple heart down in it too.

"During the burglary, I don't know who it was, he must have been quite a man to pick that bottle of change up and everything, but it went missing."

Albritton said he reported the medal missing, but came to believe he would never see it again.

The veteran's mind changed recently when he was contacted by Jamie Bath.

Bath, a South Africa native living in Brooksville, Fla., said he was surprised to see a Purple Heart with a $2 price tag at a yard sale.

"This is the first one I've ever actually seen," Bath said. "My wife and I like to do a lot of estate sales and yard sales on weekends and it just happened to be at someone's yard sale."

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Bath said he decided to buy the medal and see if he could identify the owner.

"I had heard of them before, and I know there are various websites where you can trace the owners of them and give them back, and I figured it was the right thing to do," he said.

Albritton was reunited with the Purple Heart when Bath sent it to him in the mail.

"It's taken quite a journey you might say, but it's good to have it back," Albritton said.

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