Trooper recovers stolen veteran’s wedding band, arrests suspect in Northampton

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NORTHAMPTON — After a meticulous two-week investigation, State Police Trooper Jonah Vaclavicek arrested a man for the theft of a deceased disabled veteran’s wedding band from the Veteran’s Home at Holyoke.

On Jan. 19, Vaclavicek responded to the home to look into the theft which occurred during the transfer of the veteran’s remains to a funeral home.

The veteran’s gold wedding band was reported missing, prompting Vaclavicek to conduct an extensive inquiry, interviewing staff at the home, relatives, and funeral service employees.

His investigation revealed that Antonio Bell, 53, of Springfield, a Certified Nursing Assistant who had worked with the veteran for three years, sold the band to a local pawn shop for $85.

Records from the shop matched the description of the stolen item, which was valued at up to $2,000 but held immeasurable sentimental worth to the veteran’s family.

Following a comprehensive interview and investigation, Bell was arrested and charged with larceny from a person over 65, larceny from a building, and receiving stolen property.

He was booked at Northampton Barracks and held on $1,000 bail before his transfer to the Hampshire County House of Corrections, pending arraignment at Holyoke District Court.

The wedding band was recovered and returned to the veteran’s family, a small consolation for their loss.

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