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DIGGING DEEPER: Man wants return of WWII items loaned to museum

ROANOKE, Ind. (WPTA21) — After more than a year of not getting answers — or even a return phone call — a Roanoke man turned to us for help recovering his parents’ WWII memorabilia.

“It was a long term loan that I could get the items back at any time I wanted,” Dan Drake says.

Drake is beyond frustrated.

He says in 2014, he loaned the Kruse Military Museum in Auburn dozens of WWII artifacts and memorabilia from his parents, including his father’s uniform, medals, and discarge papers from the time he served as a Marine staff sergeant off the coast of Japan.

He painstakingly put together old letters, photos with descriptions, and military paperwork.

Drake says the museum’s curator at the time told him a Pacific Theater area was planned, and that his items would be a fantastic addition.

“Last spring I made a trip up there and I was absolutely appalled on what little was there,” he says.

Drake says his items were nowhere to be found.

Once he got home, he began trying to get them returned.

He says over the next few months, he left phone messages, sent a certified letter, even got a DeKalb County detective to go there and tell employees to call him back — nothing worked.

“If I was told that, hey, it all got sold by mistake, we’re terribly sorry, I could live with that. It’s just that I think I have the right to the courtesy of letting me know what happened to the stuff,” he says.

In frustration, Drake turned to us to try to get some answers.

So we made some calls.

The three new owners of the Kruse complex are out of town this week.

We spoke to one of them who says there are few, if any, records of anything inside the buildings they bought, but he assures me he will search for Drake’s collection as soon as he returns.

“Hopefully it is here’s your stuff. But if it isn’t, at least someone cared enough to try,” Drake says.

He promises to let us know when — or if — the Kruse Plaza finds his parents’ memorabilia.

We learned about this story through our Digging Deeper tipline.

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Corinne Rose

Corinne Rose is a reporter for WPTA.

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