ALTON, IL – Shane Patton holds a small piece of his late brother he thought he'd lost forever.
“I almost broke down because I never expected to get them back,” Shane Patton said, rubbing an army dog tag in his hands.
We first told you about Patton last month after his backpack was stolen from his unlocked car sitting in his driveway. The backpack contained his laptop, the dog tag and a miniature urn that contained a part of his brother Gabriel Patton’s remains. Gabriel was a Private First Class in the U.S. Army but while on leave from Ft. Leonard Wood, he was killed in a car crash in Edwardsville.
Surveillance photos from a local Walgreens caught two suspects using a stolen credit card. Alton Police contacted neighboring law enforcement and asked for the public’s help identifying the two people in the surveillance. The Madison County Sheriff’s Department knew the suspects. Alton Police detectives said they issued a search warrant at the suspect’s home and discovered items that linked them to at least 20 vehicle burglaries within a month’s time in the Milton Neighborhood, including Patton’s laptop.
Alton Police Detective Marcos Pulido contacted Patton about the finding. That’s when Patton said he asked about the dog tag and told Pulido about its significance.
“It touched me so I decided to conduct a second interview with the suspects,” Pulido said. “They didn't realize the meaning that it would have to someone.”
Patton said one of the suspects, who’d been released from jail, found the dog tag under a mattress and then called Detective Pulido to return it. The whole experience he said has shown him the inherent goodness in people, that even a crook has a heart. He also wanted to make sure police and Detective Pulido knows how much their extra effort to reunite him with a part of his brother has meant.
“I don't think police get enough credit these days for what they do for the people that they serve and that to me is so significant,” said Patton.
The suspects, 19-year-old Cai’Lynn Lytle and Jerome Wilson each face three counts of burglary, a class 2 felony and one count of unlawful use of a credit card, a class 4 felony. Wilson also has been charged with one count of unlawful possession of weapons by a felon, a class 3 felony. Lytle has also been charged with possession of a controlled substance, a class 4 felony.