Stockton American Legion Hall in a battle against thieves

Veterans with the Stockton American Legion Hall are attempting to defend themselves against a rash of burglaries. (June 9, 2017)

Ted Winkelman fought with the Air Force in Vietnam. Now, he is in a fight against thieves.

"We're here to help people, not to be taken advantage of," Winkelman said, who was an air freight specialist fighting in Vietnam from 1966-1970.

Since September of last year, Stockton's Karl Ross Post 16 has been burglarized six times.

The latest burglary happened last Sunday just after 3 a.m. The burglar came through a basement vent outside the building and then lifted a floor vent inside and crawled his way in.

A $10,000 musical keyboard was stolen off the stage. Later that night, three cases of beer were stolen from the hall refrigerator.

All of it was captured and recorded on a security camera. However, it is difficult to make out features of the man who made off with the goods.

"It was definitely from people under the bridge, the transients," Winkelman said. "And that has been our main problem for eight or 10 years."

The post is right next door to a river where homeless encampments line both sides. The post has attached razor wire to a fence where people have gained access to the property.

However, Winkelman says people still find a way to break through. He says they have asked Caltrans to put up a better fence, but nothing has been done.

So far, no arrests have been made.

The post plans to hold a fundraiser to help replace the stolen keyboard.

© 2017 KXTV-TV


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