By Michael Regan
The Tonawanda News
NORTH TONAWANDA — A home on Sherwood Avenue being constructed for a wounded veteran who lost both of his legs in Afghanistan has been burglarized twice since early September.
Marine Cpl. Paul Schaus was severely injured after stepping on a land mine during his second deployment in 2009. He twice went through cardiac arrest after barely surviving the incident and spent years in therapy before moving back to Western New York.
The charity group Home for Troops organized the construction of his home, which has been ongoing during the last several months. The structure will be specially contoured to his disability.
With the entire project just weeks away from completion, contractors on Wednesday discovered a television set had been taken from the home after coming in to do work.
Jodie Buckley, Schaus’s cousin and an employee of Grand Jude Plumbing, the general contractor that has conducted a bulk of the work on the house, told the Tonawanda News that a thief broke into the home through a unlocked rear window late Tuesday or early Wednesday.
Once inside at least one individual attempted to rip a large, donated television off the wall before leaving it and taking a smaller television out of the bathroom, then exited out through a back door.
“I think it’s disgusting,” Buckley said. “Who in the world would steal from a disabled veteran? This person is the lowest of the low. Paul is very disappointed and his mother is very upset about the whole thing. You feel violated, this is his home.”
In September, Buckley said, a small piece of copper was stripped from the exterior of the home.
North Tonawanda police confirmed many of those details while adding that the construction company did not want to file an official complaint due to possible increases in insurance costs.
Schaus was just weeks away from moving into the home, his cousin said.
Buckley said a series of televisions are mounted throughout the house and tied into a security system that will allow the marine to see the exterior of the home through cameras linked to that system. An alarm system also has been activated since the burglary.
“We have put so much effort into this house so we all take this very personally,” Buckley said. “We’re hoping who ever did this had a big mouth so hopefully someone can lead us to whoever did this.”
Anyone with information about the burglary should contact NT police at 692-4111.
Contact reporter Michael Regan at 693-1000, ext. 4115.