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What kind of grinch steals $5,000 in windows meant for an injured veteran's house?


TENINO, Wash. (CIRCA VIA KOMO) -- Deputies are trying to figure out who stole approximately $5,000 in vinyl windows from the site of a home being built for an injured soldier.

The site is located down a dirt road near Tenino and is surrounded by mud and piles of rocks.

Not much is there yet, but Sgt. Jereme Sawyer can see his dream home begin to take shape.

"This was just a plot of land when we found it," Sawyer told Circa partner KOMO News.

He picked the spot for a reason.

The background noise from nearby Interstate 5 reminds him of the constant buzz of helicopters from his days in Afghanistan.

"The helicopters would come in daily, nightly, all the time. And you got really used to that noise. It actually became a comfort. It was when those choppers stopped coming in that you started to worry. You’re like, ‘Alright, what’s going on?’" he said. "I like being able to feel like I’m in touch with society a little bit. As long as I can hear that in the background, I feel like everything’s going okay. If I don’t hear that, something’s going on."

Earlier this week, someone broke the lock on a nearby storage shed and stole nine vinyl windows that had been donated for Sawyer’s home, deputies said.

Carey Miller made the discovery.

"Just that someone would come and take stuff that was designed or sent here for an injured veteran, I just find that very disheartening," said Miller, who owns Miller Construction. "In 30 years of contracting, only one other time did I have material taken from a job about 25 years ago."

"When you feel like you’re not really worthy of a home in the first place, and then you come out here and you find out that somebody’s broken into a Conex box and stolen a bunch of materials from your project that have been donated for free," Sawyer added. "That just makes me feel even worse."

The theft likely won’t impact the construction timeline, Miller said.

But if new windows have to be purchased, that’s money taken away from homes for other veterans, he added.

"Homes For Our Troops” is an organization that builds and donates specially designed houses for veterans who were severely injured after the September 11th terrorist attacks in 2001.

Sawyer lost two of his limbs in a blast in Helmend Province, Afghanistan, on April 3, 2012.

"I don’t just wanna lay in my bed and give up," Sawyer told KOMO News. "I don’t want to be one of those people. I would rather inspire somebody else to see what I’m doing and say, 'You know, I wanna do that, too.’"

He believes his new home will allow him to do that even more once it’s done next spring.

He won’t let burglars stop that vision from being carried out, he said.

"I don’t want it to be a place where I’m just cooped up in my home and nobody knows I’m back here, none of my friends come to visit. I want it to be built into a home by having my friends and family come over to my house and experience that joy in my house," Sawyer said.

Thurston County Sheriff's deputies are investigating.

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