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Thieves Steal A Lifetime Of Memories From Roadside Parcel Box

OAKHURST — When someone broke into a postal parcel box along Road 426 and made off with a package meant for Heather Bratty’s family, they took more than material items. They stole nearly 100 years of irreplaceable family history and left everyone heartbroken at the loss.

“It’s not like it was just an order from Amazon,” says an emotional Heather. “This is family history that can never be replaced, and is of no value to anyone else. Please, we just want to get it back.”


Retired Army Colonel Mark L. Brown and Andrew Selbicky – photo courtesy Heather Bratty

Heather and Troy Bratty’s son, Andrew Selbicky, age 20, has recently graduated from boot camp at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego. Andrew is a graduate of Yosemite High School, and attended school in the area since 1st grade.

With a family steeped in military tradition and service, Heather’s brother, Mark L. Brown, a Retired Army Colonel, wanted to share the family’s history with Andrew upon his graduation, and put together a package containing medals, memorabilia and letters – some over 100 years old – from Andrew’s great-grandfather, who also served as a Colonel in the Army.

Though Andrew never got to meet his great-grandfather, the family knows he would be very proud that their son had entered the service, and they wanted to keep the connection going down through the generations by passing it on to Andrew.

So Andrew’s uncle packaged everything up and shipped it from Hawaii, with a scheduled arrival date of Thursday, Nov. 17. Heather went down to the parcel box at the corner of Road 426 and Quail Ridge Road on that morning, but the mail hadn’t yet been delivered. That night, someone pried off the back of the box and made off with her package and several others.

Heather says she was never notified of the theft, and continued to check the box daily. She soon discovered through the tracking information that the package had indeed been delivered, and that no one from the post office had informed her of the break-in.

“It was heartbreaking when I realized that these irreplaceable things were gone,” says a tearful Heather. “I wouldn’t care if it was from Amazon or anything that could be replaced; that would be no big deal. But these things have no value to anyone else.”

Heather says she doesn’t want any harm to come to the person who took the package. She just wants to get it back, no questions asked.

Andrew Selbicky - photo courtesy of Heather Bratty

Andrew Selbicky – photo courtesy of Heather Bratty

“I realize people are having a hard time in the holiday season,” she says, “and I’m not going to report them. It’s happened. Someone has it and they won’t have any use for the contents, but those items would mean so much to Andrew.”

Heather and Troy, and Andrew’s younger brother James, are praying for the best gift they could get this holiday, and ask that whoever has the package just put her name and phone number on it (559-642-6916), and drop it off somewhere – leave it at the post office and say you found it. Take it to a fire station or a church, or call Heather and make arrangements. She is willing to pay a reward for its return.

“It would be a Christmas miracle,” says Heather. “Please do this for me and my family at Christmas.”

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