New Bedford Marine's posthumous Purple Heart stolen

Lance Cpl. Michael Ford

The father of a Marine from New Bedford who was killed in Iraq said Friday he's heartbroken that a thief broke into his home and stole his son's posthumous Purple Heart.

The medal was stolen last weekend from Joseph Ford Sr.'s home, which has been vacant since pipes burst in February.

Lance Cpl. Michael Ford was 19 when he died after the tank he was in drove over an improvised explosive device in April 2006.

"My daughter has a picture in the hallway going to her room of his obituary. They had to pass it. I don't see how they could, knowing full well that someone died for that Purple Heart," Ford told NBC 10 News.

Ford told The Standard-Times that the family has little of value, but he considers the Purple Heart priceless.

Mayor Jon Mitchell called the theft "despicable."

Police said the medal has almost no value on the streets, but the family is checking area pawn shops.

A spokeswoman for U.S. Rep. William Keating said the congressman's office will work on getting a replacement medal.

But Ford said it wouldn't be the same.

"Just return the Purple Hearts. My son died for those, and they mean everything to me," Ford said.

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