The owner of the medals has been located, police say
FORT PIERCE, Fla. - Symbols of duty, honor and bravery were found dumped in a garbage can.
Late Tuesday night, two Fort Pierce boys who found military service medals got their wish, as police now know the person to whom they belong.
Police said the medals were stolen during a burglary in Port St. Lucie and wound up in the trash in Fort Pierce.
They credit social media with spreading the word of the missing medals
It was a mystery that had one family scratching their heads for a few days.
Jacob and Austin, both 8-years-old, found the box of medals as they were rummaging through neighborhood garbage dumpsters for fun on Sunday.
“This shouldn't end up in the dumpster,” Austin says, pointing at the box on his dining room table.
Inside the box there was nothing to clearly identify the owner, only a single name tag.
“This man spent all his time trying to collect this stuff,” Jacob says.
Experts we spoke to say the medals are a reflection of someone who served in the Iraq War.
“He was awarded the Army achievement medal three times, and the star on the Iraq War medal is a battle star,” says Julie Boleware, an expert on military medals.
Jacob and Austin want to know how these medals wound up in the trash.
“Whoever did this…it's heartbreaking,” Austin says. “He risked his life in the Army and all that for our country.”
Austin's mom Tara has a message for that soldier.
“Thank you for putting your life on the line for us, so that our children can go out and have the freedoms that they have -- and do things like dumpster dive,” she says.
Police say after the box of medals is processed for evidence, it will be returned to its owner.
Jacob and Austin hope to be on hand when that reunion happens.