LEBANON (NEWS CENTER Maine) -- “I don’t care what you do to protect your house, if they want to get in, they will get in," said Joanne Couture.
It was back in March 2017 when Richard and Joanne Couture left their Lebanon home to grab a bite to eat.
“We left to go to McDonald’s to get some hamburgers, and he busted the door down, and he came in, and he went in quick, and he just went to the bedroom, the master bedroom, dumped all of the drawers on the bed on the floor and got her jewelry. He carried it out of here with a pillow of stuff he threw in. Yeah, in a pillow case,” Richard said.
“My little pierced earrings from when I was a child, my gun, pictures,” Joanne said.
The couple's front door had been ripped from its frame. And inside, their home was turned upside down. Expensive jewelry items, Joanne's handgun and several family heirlooms were stolen along with Richard's medal for good conduct he had earned while stationed in South Korea in 1958. Thousands of dollars worth of belongings they never expected to see again.
And then, Lebanon Cleanup Day of 2018 came around. Kids from the town coming together for their annual clean up of roads and wooded areas.
“There was a jewelry box picture frame and a military medal,” says Sophie Tetrault.
Tetrault, her brother, Elijah, and his friend, Alex Marchand, were cleaning up a ditch when they stumbled upon a pillow case full of unusual items.
“We saw the pillow case, and at first I didn’t know what it was. We knew that no one would really throw that stuff away,” she said.
The trio knew exactly what to do. They took the pillow case full of treasures and showed them to Tetrault's mother, who then posted photos of hte items on Facebook.
Richard was surprised. “They decided they were going to find out if they belonged to somebody locally.”
Joanne was awestruck. “That they would even bother...because most kids are on digital, you know, with their thumbs going. I almost cried. I had tears in my eyes, and I thought, 'Oh my God, my earrings!'”
“I feel amazing to find it because they have the thoughts that they were never going to find this stuff again,” said Alex.
Elijah only expected to uncover the usual discarded items. He said, “I feel amazing to find it because they have the thoughts that they were never going to find this stuff again.”
The Coutures said they are grateful for these kids, and they are proud of their Earth Day cleanup efforts. Although not all of their stolen items from the 2017 burglary were recovered, they believe these three kids did the right thing and that they are watching out for them.
Joanne says, “They were like little guardian angels coming to us and we love them for it.”