Family reunited with precious 80-year-old heirloom after it was lost

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Monday, June 26, 2023
Family reunited with precious 80-year-old heirloom after it was stolen
A family's stolen heirloom was returned after it turned up on an MTA subway train earlier this year. NJ Burkett has the story.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- It was presumed to be lost forever.

Stephanie Carroll never thought she would be reunited with the precious 80-year-old family heirloom that once belonged to her father, U.S. Navy Commander Robert Carroll.

Stephanie Carroll had plenty of reasons to be proud of her dad, who was a World War II veteran and decorated naval aviator in both Germany and Korea. He later trained fighter pilots.

After he died in 2015 at the age of 95, Stephanie Carroll received a silver lining of a lifetime in the form of her dad's wallet with his official 1943-issued naval aviator identification card.

To preserve her father's memory, she carried the military ID with her everywhere she went - until it was lost last year.

In an unfortunate turn of events, the ID was lost while she attended the "Top Gun: Maverick" premiere.

"I was showing it to people, showing it to producers and actors. They were interested to see it," Carroll said. "And then I went to show it to somebody and it was gone."

It was presumed to be lost for good until an MTA employee discovered it on a subway train earlier this year.

All kinds of items get turned in every day, but Veronica Santana says this one was different. She looked up Commander Carroll's online obituary, determined to find his family.

"I was thinking about my godfather because he was in World War II," Santana said. "For me, it's personal. That if we had lost his ID, he would want somebody to return it back to the family."

But she hit a dead end and went to Transit Authority President Rich Davey, whose staff found Stephanie. Santana returned the wallet, more than six months after it disappeared.

"I'm shaking because I lost this months ago, in the fall, and I thought I'd never see it again," Carroll said. "And it showed up."

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