KANSAS CITY, Mo. (FOX4) — A young man on his way to college was traveling through Kansas City when several people broke into his car and stole his prized possession.
It’s something unique he can’t replace easily. Now, he’s hoping someone can find it and get it back to him.
Getting a patch from a police department can be a sign of respect. Ryan Graham had nearly 200 of them stolen from him Saturday morning.
It’s a collection Graham worked on for a decade. He wrote individual letters to departments telling them he wants to be a police officer. He’s studying criminal justice and homeland security at Idaho State.
“Ever since I was a little kid I wanted to be in law enforcement,” Graham said. “I wanted to be that person someone could call if they needed help.”
He collected patches from around the country, some of them even from international departments. He wanted to bring his collection with him to college in Idaho.
“We came up with the quilt idea,” Graham said.
With the help of his neighbor, they strategically placed 200 patches on a queen-sized piece of fabric. His neighbor quilted it for him. The patches were organized by location with a blue like to signify departments from the north and departments from the south.
“It actually brought tears to my eyes because she did such a good job with it,’ Graham said.
Graham stopped in Kansas City while traveling to school with his blanket in his car. He stayed at the Courtyard by Marriott at 16th & Baltimore in the Crossroads. He said the hotel offered parking for $25 a night, but he was budgeting his money. They told him he could park for free in the lot across the street.
When he woke up in the morning, his belongings were gone.
Not only was the quilt gone, but also fishing gear, towels, dishes, and items he was taking to school. A man he met at the hotel showed up at his door right after it happened to alert him about his car.
“My car was broken into. My trunk was open, and my back window was smashed. He woke up from the alarm going off,” Graham said.
Another guest at the hotel caught much of the incident on camera. You can see a man going through what looks to be an abandoned SUV in the lot. He then runs to an SUV sitting on Baltimore Street. The SUV backs into the lot and right up to Graham’s car.
Three people, a woman and two men, get out and begin throwing his belongings from the car into their SUV and then drive off.
“That really hurt me when I saw that quilt gone, especially having it less than a week,” Graham said.
He’s asking everyone in the metro to keep an eye out and hopes he can get his quilt back.
“I wanted to hold onto that for my life, and when I go into law enforcement and I get married and I have kids — my mentality was when my time comes and I pass away, I would like to pass that down to my kids,” Graham said.
Graham is working to set up a P.O. box where people can send him patches if he needs to start his collection again. FOX4 will update this web story with the address when he has it.