Rank chevrons, cap badges, collar badges, bayonets, berets, stars,
medal sets and Allied victory decorations were pinched from museum
exhibits and preparation rooms sometime between August and December of
It’s a crime spree the museum’s executive director Tom Doucette called
a “devastating” loss for the facility.
“It’s really unfortunate, because at the end of the day, The Military
Museums are a Canadian treasure and we’ve been entrusted with the
memorabilia and the personal artifacts of military members who have
served our great nation,” Doucette said.
Police confirmed Thursday they arrested and charged a man on Jan. 29
with possession of stolen property over $5,000 in connection to the
Since then, 57 items have been recovered, Doucette said.
However, about 150 items, some loaned from collectors and others
donated by surviving war heroes and their families, are still missing.
Doucette said the crimes have struck a nerve with Museum staff.
“But it’s not only us affected, it’s the whole nation. When people
steal cultural property that belongs to a nation, it’s very
disheartening,” he said.
Curators are in the midst of assembling a detailed list of what was
stolen, which they will post to their website within two weeks in
hopes of drumming up tips that may lead to the return of as many
emblems and accolades as possible, some of which date back to the
First World War.
Doucette isn’t holding out hope for the return of many pieces, such as
the rank chevrons and berets.
“They’re common and not identifiable as such. It’s the personal ones
we can identify that we’re going to seek the public’s assistance
with,” he said.
Doucette wouldn’t say how the regalia was stolen.
Included in the missing loot are numerous Canadian decorations
engraved with service numbers of those awarded, pieces that staff hope
may find their way back to the Museum through public assistance.
Among the galleries hit by the thievery were the Army and Air Force
Museums of Alberta, the King’s Own Calgary Regiment (Royal Canadian
Armoured Corps) and the Calgary Highlanders.
The Military Museums is the second-largest of its kind in the country,
after the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa.