NY Marine Veteran Urges Car Thief To Return Stolen Dress Blues

Marine veteran

New Jersey Army National Guard Cpl. Michael Ariza, 29, served honorably in the US Marine Corps from 2016 to 2020. Cops in New York continue to search for the suspect who stole his car and the uniforms stored inside it. Photos courtesy of Michael Ariza. Composite by Coffee or Die Magazine.

A New York Marine veteran just wants the thief who stole his Honda Civic to return his dress blues and all the other boot camp-issued uniforms that were stowed in his trunk.

“Every single uniform that I was issued in the Corps was in the trunk. They took everything,” Michael Ariza, 29, told Coffee or Die Magazine. “Even the covers to the boots and the shoes.”

New York City Police Officer Taylor Cannon, a department spokesperson, said 77th Precinct cops found Ariza’s 2019 sedan abandoned in Brooklyn on Sept. 12, but they haven’t recovered his covers, and they have no leads on a suspect.

Ariza told Coffee or Die he wasn’t using his Honda as a footlocker. He put them there to transport. Now the only mementos of the Marines he has left are some medals, award certificates, a braided fourragere, and a pair of boots he’d left in his residence.

“Everything else is gone,” he said.

Marine veteran

Staten Island, New York, veteran Michael Ariza (left) was promoted to corporal in the US Marine Corps in June of 2018. Photo courtesy of Michael Ariza.

Photo courtesy of Michael Ariza.

Headquarters Marine Corps confirmed to Coffee or Die that Ariza had enlisted in the Corps in 2016, graduated from boot camp at Parris Island, trained as a motor transportation operator, and been stationed at Camp Pendleton in California for much of his four years of service.

He left the corps as a corporal and hoped to wear the blood stripe at his wedding and to funerals.

“I’m sure anyone could say, ‘Oh, he could just buy a new pair.’ But it’s not the same thing,” Ariza said. “They hold sentimental value. Every uniform I had, they were ones that I wore, either very often or every day for four years of my life.”

After his honorable discharge, Ariza became a postal worker, but he continues to serve in the military, too.

A first-degree black belt in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, he’s a New Jersey Army National Guard corporal who teaches fighting skills to soldiers at Picatinny Arsenal.

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Noelle is an award-winning journalist from Cincinnati, Ohio, who came to Coffee or Die Magazine following a fellowship from Military Veterans in Journalism. She graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has strived to be a military journalist ever since her internships with the US Army Cadet Command in college. She worked as a civilian journalist covering several units, including the 75th Ranger Regiment on Fort Benning, before she joined the military herself and served as a public affairs specialist attached to the 3rd Infantry Division. She deployed once to fill a role as a media analyst for the Special Operations Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve in Kuwait. She has a passion for sharing stories of heroes and people who are far more interesting than they think they are. She follows where the job takes her, but currently resides on the East Coast in Georgia.
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