BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. -- It’s only a couple of thousand dollars, but it’s so much more for a local Marine and his family.
Sometime between midnight after the Chiefs game and sunrise Friday morning, the Grinch hit Brookwood Place Estates in Blue Springs.
He didn’t take a tree, or gifts; he took a sense of security. And he did it by taking 2007 Toyota Corolla filled with meaning, and Marine Corps uniforms.
Evan Wheeler spent the last four years in the Marine Corps, most recently stationed in the California desert. It’s there that he bought his Squad Leader’s Corolla, which had done some major sun damage due to the desert rays.
Wheeler brought it home to Blue Springs when he left the Marine Corps in August. He locked it and parked it on the street in front of the house every night; it still had California plates on it. On Thursday night, he watched the Chiefs game with some friends. They left around midnight.
Around 5:45 the next morning, his mother-in-law noticed his car wasn’t parked in its usual spot on Brookwood Place.
“He had it parked, literally, right out front,” Elaine Bryant said. “We always have the house lit up pretty nice. I always have my outside lights on. So this is insane to me.“
Before the sun rose, they’d already contacted police.
“The car was only a little over two grand,” Evan Wheeler said. That, he said, he doesn’t feel sad about losing. It’s what was inside that Corolla.
“But it’s mainly the uniforms and some of the gear. I just had a lot of experiences within those,” he said. “Good times in my life. Sentimental value with that. I would like to have those.”
Now, all he has are pictures and memories. He had his Marine Uniforms in that Corolla; he planned to take them to the cleaner’s Friday.
Those uniforms saw him through some pivotal times in his life - and some of the best, like when he married his wife in his dress blues.
“I’m not really that concerned about the car. I like to have my own transportation and what was in the car,” he said. “That’s what I was concerned about.”
Wheeler’s been living with his in-laws; he helps out with his father-in-law’s business during the holidays. He was going to start applying to other jobs in 2019 - but he needs a car to go to the job interviews.
But Wheeler emphasizes that he won’t miss the machine. Just the uniforms from his time in the Marines.
“Please,” he said, “just bring me back my uniforms. I don’t really care about the car. I just want my uniforms back.”
In the meantime, the family is already calling pawn shops in the area - just in case some Marine uniforms show up. They ask if you see a 2007 Toyota Corolla that used to be redder - please call police.