Two months ago, Portillo said someone walked into her shop and swiped a group of Challenge coins out of her display case. Veterans typically keep the coins in their pocket, as part of a challenge to prove their service. Other people keep custom Challenge coins to honor loved ones killed in the line of duty.

“I really thought that I wouldn’t see them again,” Portillo said.


“However, the support from The Riverbank News, the Sheriff’s department and the community of Riverbank demonstrated the strength and courage of what America is all about and I couldn’t be any more proud of being a part of such a great place to live and do business in.”

Portillo and supporters had continued praying for the safe return of the coins even though several weeks had already passed with no resolving of the situation.

To our surprise on that Wednesday morning, April 6, when a package wrapped in a plastic bag was discovered with a taped up box and the challenge coins inside, prayers were answered. The package was dropped through the mail slot of the Oakdale Leader’s front door, specifically addressed to the “smog lady.”

Follow the full story on the Oakdale Leader and on