War memorabilia returned to owners

ACT Policing has recovered and returned precious war memorabilia, including medals and a 70-year-old war diary which had been stolen during a home burglary in May 2014.

On 16 May, Scott Pearsall returned to his house in Pearce to find he had been burgled, with several items missing including his cherished WWII memorabilia.

The items included one of two prisoner-of-war diaries and medals that belonged to Scott’s grandfather Thomas Pearsall, who served in the military from 1940-1945 and became a prisoner of war at the notorious Changi Prison in Singapore and later served on the Thai-Burma Railway. 

In late May, ACT Policing executed seven warrants across the ACT recovering items from four to five burglaries on separate premises, which included items belonging to the Pearsall family. The investigative effort to recover and collate the stolen items and return them to their rightful owners has been lengthy and thorough, with many thousands of dollars in property involved.

Today, for the Pearsall family, their most precious items finally came home. Scott and his wife Paula were able to collect the memorabilia, including the handwritten diary, from City Police Station. Scott, an academic at the University of Canberra, plans to transcribe the diaries for publication before donating them and the medals to the Australian War Memorial.

“We were devastated when my grandfather’s diary and medals were stolen as these were irreplaceable,” Scott Pearsall said.

“But the police kept pursuing the case, kept us informed of the progress, and we got a great outcome. I’m delighted that the diary and the medals, so dear to our family have been recovered.”

ACT Crime Targeting Team Detective Senior Constable Brett Katz has worked on the case since May.

“Finally getting this precious property back in the family’s hands is one of the pleasant outcomes in this involved and protracted investigation,” Detective Senior Constable Katz said.

“It gives you great satisfaction as a police officer to recover items which mean so much to people and ensure they make their way back to the rightful owners,” he said.

Investigations into the thefts are ongoing.