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Nearly $18G in disabled vets' hunting gear stolen in Michigan

Nearly $18,000 in equipment used to transport disabled veterans into the woods to hunt was reportedly stolen from a trailer in Michigan.

The Detroit Free Press reports that an unmarked, $4,000 black custom trailer carrying a $13,800 Polaris six-person utility vehicle used by Operation Injured Soldiers volunteers was stolen sometime between July 3 and 5 in South Lyon.

Loran Symonds, 44, who served in Iraq during Operation Desert Storm, said the theft was like “walking up and spitting in someone’s face.”

“[Soldiers] who are returning now who had it a lot worse than what I did — with all the IEDs — they’re coming home with missing limbs,” Symonds told the newspaper. “So this thing was like a lifeline. For someone to steal that, it’s unbelievable.”

"This thing was like a lifeline."

- Loran Symonds

Pamela Bijansky, one of the founders of Operation Injured Soldiers, said the trailer disappeared from outside the group’s office in South Lyon. Bijansky hopes guilt brings those responsible for the theft to return or abandon the equipment.

“We need to replace them, but personally I’d rather just see someone dump it somewhere,” Bijansky said. “People are out there looking. Keep your eyes open. Somebody has seen a new trailer appear next door or a new Ranger. Or it could be in Mississippi right now. But it’s a 50-50 shot it’s still in Michigan.”

Operation Injured Soldiers, which connects soldiers with fellow veterans, raises money through donations with golf outings and other events for roughly 400 vets in Michigan and another 400 nationwide.

The theft remains under investigation by the South Lyon Police Department, a spokeswoman told the newspaper.

Click for more from the Detroit Free Press.

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