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Burglars steal newly minted Flight 93 medallions

Friday, October 25, 2002

By Tom Gibb, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Copies of a limited-edition medallion commemorating the Flight 93 victims in Somerset County were among items stolen in a burglary at an Ohio office building on Tuesday, police said.

The pewter copies were to be sold to help fund a permanent Flight 93 memorial near Shanksville.

The medallions -- a dozen or two, along with a pair of autographed NBA basketballs, a framed ticket to the last Pirates game at Three Rivers Stadium and other items -- disappeared when at least one burglar hit a two-story office building near the center of downtown Akron.

Along with a flower shop and a soon-to-be banquet room, a burglar or two hit Detrick & Associates Interiors Inc., owned by Sharon Detrick, a regular visitor to Somerset who volunteered to steer the fund drive that financed memorial services there on the first anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, crash.

"We wanted to get stuff together for auctions in Cleveland and, on Dec. 6, in Pittsburgh," Detrick said yesterday. "I hoped we could make $100,000. ... Now, we have to reschedule."

If that's a headache for Detrick, crime had no sympathy.

"I have a place behind my desk where I keep vitamins and Aleve," she said. "They took that stuff, too."

The sale of medallions and auction of memorabilia and other goods is part of the fund-raising to cover the cost of the first anniversary memorial service, which drew more than 500 relatives and friends of Flight 93 victims.

The bill for the service, which Detrick initially guessed could edge toward $500,000, probably will come in under $250,000, Somerset County Commissioner Pamela Tokar-Ickes said yesterday. Any overrun in fund-raising goes to what planners think will be a private-public partnership to build a memorial at the crash site.

The break-in also cost Detrick's business such essentials as $7,000 in laptop computers, police reported.

There were no suspects or leads, Akron police Lt. Ken Ball said yesterday.

Tokar-Ickes said that a meeting next week should show that the Flight 93 memorial service already is pretty well paid for. And some of the plunder, like certificates for bed-and-breakfast stays, can be replaced, Detrick said. Still other items -- such as field-level tickets to the Steelers-Carolina game and an autographed football -- hadn't been put into the mail to Detrick yet.

And while handfuls of Flight 93 medallions disappeared, hundreds were left behind, Detrick said.

"It was whatever they could fill their pockets with," she said.

Tom Gibb can be reached at tgibb@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1601.

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