January 23, 2019
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Maine kids find stolen war medal, jewelry during neighborhood cleanup

LEBANON, Maine — Three kids helped return some treasured items to a couple who thought those items were gone for good.

It was the day after Earth Day, and most of the snow had melted.

“In Lebanon, since the town is really messy and there are a bunch of beer cans everywhere, we have something called ‘Lebanon Clean-up Day,’” explained young Elijah Tatreault.

Elijah and Sophie Tatreault and their friend Alex Marchand were doing their part to clean up the town, when they saw something strange.

“It was blue and white and it was really dirty,” recalled Sophie Tatreault.

It was a pillowcase, and inside were photos, a war medal and gold earrings.

Elijah said the children were baffled by the discovery: “Why would someone put this in a pillowcase?”

They brought the items home, and one of their moms posted about it Facebook.

A woman who worked at a nearby grocery store recognized the woman in the photo.

It was Joanne Couture. She and her husband Richard live nearby.

In March of 2017, their home was burglarized.

“We were gone maybe 20, 25 minutes [on the day of the burglary], and when we got back, the door was busted open and [the burglar] was gone,” Richard Couture recalled.

Among the items allegedly stolen were a coin collection, a pistol, a jar of money and thousands of dollars’ worth of jewelry.

And now they’re thanking the kids who returned at least a few of the lost items. The stolen earrings that the children recovered had been given to Joanne Couture by her mother when she was a child herself.

“She was excited to get them back,” Richard said. “Those were memories. … I got my medal back and she got her earrings back.”

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