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Olympic Games silver medal plus $100K in valuables stolen in Manteca
An Olympic silver medal from the 2008 games in Beijing was stolen from a Manteca home during a burglary. It is being shown in hopes that someone will recognize it on the street. - photo by Photo Contributed
The theft of an Olympic Silver medal from the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing devastated a Manteca couple when they returned to their home after a holiday trip.

Marlene Moses said their home in the 1100 block of Heartland Drive near Woodward Park was burglarized at about 2 a.m. two days before New Year’s when thieves made off with an Olympic wristwatch and an Olympic ring and medal that had been presented to their son Merrill, 33, a goalie on the U.S. Water Polo team.

Moses said that over $70,000 in a watch collection she owned along with other valuables totaling over $100,000 in losses were loaded into a conversion van in the late night hours of Dec. 28.  She noted that a neighbor across the street had noticed two short men dressed in black loading their belongings into the vehicle.  When the neighbor opened her garage door and switched on the light, the duo fled, she added.  All the rest of her jewelry that had been given to her by her husband and her son over the last 40 years also was missing.

Moses and her husband Max operate a home business with numerous computers and other electronic equipment in the residence.  She said the burglars left much of that equipment stashed by the front door when they were frightened off by the neighbor.  Electronic items taken included five TVs, computers, printers, and fax machines.

“While the loss was huge, I want that medal back.  My son earned it,” she said. “The U.S. hadn’t won a medal in (water polo) in 20 years.  

The ring is white gold and engraved with “Moses” on one side and “#1” on the other and adorned with six diamonds.  

The Manteca woman said their son was competing with an Italian team during December and they had traveled to that country to be there for him.  It was his second year to compete in Italy and before that in Croatia.  When Merrill returns home he is set to go into training for the 2012 Olympics.

Moses said their son has been involved in water polo for some 18 years and has played in every continent in the world – even in Cuba with Castro in the audience.  She noted that Castro wasn’t too happy when the U.S. team won the meet.

As part of their trip their son invited them to extend their vacation in Jamaica with him and his girl friend Laura Bailey where he planned to propose to her.  Their wedding is set for September of this year.  She has her degree in education and is currently working toward a Master’s Degree.

Moses noted that her son and future daughter-in-law had met in La Palma where he was giving motivational talks to students.  Bailey’s brother was one of the athletes and she was encouraged by a family member to talk with the Olympian after the close of the session.

His mom chuckled saying after a short chat, he sought out the girl’s mother asking if it would be alright with her if he took her daughter out on a date – the beginning of their relationship that took her to Italy and elsewhere to follow his  water polo competitions.

Dr. Moses – an orthopedic surgeon – and his wife had moved to Manteca where they could monitor his medical practice where he reviews medical reports through eight offices.  They had moved from Palos Verdes in Southern California because of Manteca’s central location to the Central Valley and Bay Area.  The home activity is something of a semi-retirement for her surgeon husband, she said.

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest of the responsible parties in the burglary.  Those calling may remain anonymous with their name being substituted with a number to collect the reward.  Call 823-4636.