A World War II veteran who wore his wedding band for 70 years had it stolen right off his finger last month during a nighttime burglary, the Sun-Sentinel reports. Dan Thomas, 93, says the thief sneaked into his bedroom in Pampano Beach, Fla., and stole various items of low monetary value. Among them was the band he'd bought at age 23 for his high-school sweetheart; he was fresh off four years in the Army, with just $500 in his pocket. "How do you put it?" he says. "A band given to you by your wife—it means a lot to me." She died seven years ago, and he wore it to remind him of her. How the thief pulled it from his arthritic finger, he'll "never know."
The Broward Sheriff's Office has arrested 19-year-old Eric Vanyo, who lives in Thomas' neighborhood, saying he burgled a nearby resident that same night and had burgled Thomas before. Thomas got his ring back, but had to buy it from a local pawnshop; luckily sheriff's deputies pitched in to pay for it. "I just said, 'Well, it fits,'" says Thomas. "I was very fortunate." Now his son would rather see Vanyo "buried than in jail," he tells CBS Miami, and Thomas says he feels like a prisoner in his own home. "I can't believe that I spent time overseas supposedly fighting for freedom for this country, and now I come back here and ... I'm in jail because my house is completely alarmed," he says. "He took away my individualism."