FORT SMITH (KFSM)- The Fort Smith Museum of History will still be participating in this year's Veterans Day Parade at Chaffee Crossing on Nov. 8, despite having its parade float was stolen last week, according to a press release from the museum.
Jim Peoples is one of the veterans who had been planning to ride on the float just like he did in 2013.
Peoples went into the army in the 1940's, when he was just 19, and was a sergeant overseas during World War II.
"I was a troubled child and so I went into the service and those drill sergeants can straighten you out real fast," Peoples said.
Leisa Gramlich, the museum's executive director, said the trailer, which the museum uses for floats in the Veterans Day and Christmas Parades, was stolen Oct. 29 from a warehouse on Wheeler Avenue. A museum board member had started decorating the float that morning and when he came back later that afternoon, the trailer was gone, Gramlich said.
The trailer was stored under a carport and locked behind a gate with a heavy-duty lock and chain. Gramlich said, the lock and chain were missing and the gate was wide open when the board member came back to an empty carport.
"What am I going to do?" Peoples said. "So a friend of mine, I asked him would he drive a jeep and he says 'Jim, you can use the jeep' and that is what we are going to do. Me and two other friends served in Korea on the front lines and two other friends are going to ride in the jeep."
According to Gramlich, the float trailer was worth about $6,000 to $8,000, in addition to the money spent on decorations for the Veterans Day Parade.
"Bring it back," Peoples said. That was his message to whoever stole the trailer.
The museum reported the theft to Fort Smith Police, Gramlich said. If you have any information about this case you can call police at: (479) 785-4221.