Thief steals woman’s purse containing Marine challenge coins

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SANTEE, Calif. -- The San Diego County Sheriff's Department Tuesday sought the public's help in identifying a suspect who used a credit card stolen during a burglary in Santee.

Brandy Dean was asleep when the burglary took place between midnight and 4:30 a.m. on Sept. 23 in the 11000 block of Woodside Avenue, sheriff's Sgt. Joel Stranger said.

Items stolen included the Dean's purse, credit cards, cash and various U.S. Marines challenge coins, which are distributed to Marines to prove membership and to boost morale, Stranger said.

The coins belonged to the victim's son, Stranger said. Dean said two of the coins were irreplaceable as they were given to her as gifts.

Also inside her purse, DVD's containing pictures of Dean's son and those who graduated from military combat training. The DVD's were meant to be sent off to their families living out of state.

About 5:40 a.m. the morning of the burglary, one of the victim's credit cards was used at a gas station in La Mesa, Stranger said.

The person using the card arrived at the station in a red, four-door car, he said.

Anyone with information that could help identify the person of interest was urged to call the detective handling the case at 619-956-4054. Anonymous tips can be provided by calling Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.

Google Map for coordinates 32.844729 by -116.958615.


  • Jar head

    Those coins will be tough but not impossible to replace.

    Contact the Camp Pendleton base commander with a request for replacement coins. I have a feeling you’ll get them back…and then some.

    • US Marine Mom

      Thank you, I will try, it’s mainly one of those things where, I’m not a US Marine, the coin from Sgt Major and Colonel were given to me from themselves for the support and photography I did for the families that were in my sons Plts. I’ve tried looking online, but I don’t have the heart to contact command let them know.

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