Anaheim barbershop owners find, return gold medal stolen from U.S. Olympian

ByABC7.com staff via KABC logo
Thursday, June 30, 2022
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Owners of a barbershop in Anaheim contacted police after finding an Olympic gold medal in a discarded plastic bag on their property.

ANAHEIM, Calif. (KABC) -- An Olympic gold medal stolen from a member of the 2020 U.S. Women's Volleyball Team has been recovered in Anaheim, police say.

The medal was found Monday inside a plastic bag that had been left discarded outside an Anaheim barbershop. After realizing what they had found, the owners contacted police.

The medal belonged to Jordyn Poulter, a member of the volleyball team that won gold in the Summer Olympics held in Tokyo last year, after the games were delayed because of the pandemic.

It was stolen from her car, along with her passport, at a parking garage in Anaheim on May 25.

READ MORE: US Olympian reports gold medal stolen in Anaheim

Poulter talked to Eyewitness News about how devastated she was by the theft, and why she had left the medal in her car. She said she takes it with her almost everywhere.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train," said Poulter. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

Police had arrested a suspect, Jordan Fernandez, 31, of Anaheim, for the theft on June 7 but were unable to recover the medal at that time. Anaheim police say Fernandez has a "lengthy criminal history" and is now facing charges of first degree residential burglary, second degree vehicle burglary, felony identity theft and felony possession of narcotics.

The Anaheim Police Department credited the owners of Noel Barbershop on State College Boulevard, Maria Carrillo and Noe Hernandez, with contacting the department after they found the medal inside the bag on their property.