Tribal Government & News

M16 shell breast plate donated to Tribe is missing

03.14.2017 Dean Rhodes Public Safety

A breast plate made of spent brass M16 shells that was donated to the Grand Ronde Tribe during the 2016 Veterans Powwow has gone missing and Crime Stoppers of Oregon is asking for the public’s help in retrieving it.

Veterans Special Event Board Chairman Steve Bobb Sr. said the last time the potentially one-of-a-kind breast plate was seen by anyone was during last August’s Contest Powwow.

After the Sunday afternoon Grand Entry, it was laid down near the announcer’s stand and it has not been seen since, Bobb said. Its disappearance did not become apparent until earlier this year when the Grand Ronde Color Guard started looking for it as powwows are starting to be held at local universities.

The vest was donated to the Tribe by the Oregon Veterans Motorcycle Association’s Eugene-Springfield chapter in appreciation for being allowed to use Kalapuya as its chapter name.

“Somebody put a lot of work into that,” said Bobb, a Vietnam War-era Marine Corps veteran. “The importance of that is that they gave it to the council for the use of that name. It is important to the Tribe.”

Bobb said Tribal veterans are not after anyone. They just want the breast plate returned, no questions asked.

“We just want to know if anyone has information so we can get it returned. That’s all,” Bobb said. “People have looked everywhere. People have turned things upside down, and it’s just missing. That’s really all we know.”

Tribal Council Chairman Reyn Leno, who is also a Marine Corps veteran from the Vietnam War era, concurred.

“It was a gift to the Tribe,” Leno said. “You really can’t put a value on it. It doesn’t have a real value to anyone else but the Tribe. It’s part of our powwows and our opening ceremonies. We want it back, no questions asked, as far as I am concerned.”

The missing breast plate case was turned over to the Grand Ronde Police Department for investigation. So far, the department has no leads, Police Chief Jake McKnight said.

People who might have information can contact Crime Stoppers at 503-823-4357 or the Grand Ronde Police Department at 503-879-2123.