Thieves steal $900 from Korean War veteran

Men distract vet in parking lot of American Legion Post 162

DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. - Thieves stole $900 from a Korean War veteran as he returned to American Legion Post 162 in Deerfield Beach.

"It happened just like that," said Mike Gagliardi.

Gagliardi, a paratrooper in the 11th Airborne, said he was tailed by two thieves as he left the bank on Christmas Eve.

"So you think they were watching you?" asked Local 10's Jacey Birch.

"Yeah, oh yeah. They had to follow me from the bank," he answered. "They wait for someone to leave the bank carrying a money bag or something and they follow them. It's an old trick."

Gagliardi, 75, was mailing a letter when he said two men pulled up beside him and asked him for directions. One distracted him while the other walked over to his passenger side door and grabbed the money bag.

"They were going to get it one way or another. Either the simple way or the hard way," he said.

Gagliardi said the bulk of the deposit had already been made. He serves as the finance officer at American Legion Post 162, and has been making bank runs for the last eight years.

"Good thing they don't shoot you, you know," said Gagliardi. "Life is not worth $900."

The grandfather of four said he wouldn't let the robbery ruin his yuletide spirit.

"It's not going to dampen anything. We still have a Christmas party tonight," said Gagliardi.

Anyone with information on the robbery is asked to call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 1-866-493-TIPS.

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