Fair warning to those who would wish Uncle Sam ill: the United States Marine Corps is about to get a lot tougher.
Between now and December the Marines will induct three young men from Queens and one from Brooklyn who helped recover medications stolen from a Middle Village pharmacy.
Jonathan Villa of Jackson Heights, Fabio Alves Desousa of Elmhurst, Ricky Lazaro of Brooklyn and Milton Mora of Flushing will head to Parris Island, SC, for training later this year, while Andreas Eras of East Elmhurst is still in school for another year.
They were running back to their Elmhurst recruiting office on June 25 after completing a training workout at Juniper Valley Park when they heard someone yelling for help.
“At first we thought it might be kids playing,” Villa said. “Then we saw someone running and somebody coming out of the store.”
Desousa said they all glanced at each other and took off after the fleeing man, who began dropping items along the way. Villa said the group split up, with some staying on the sidewalk and others going into the road to cut off one avenue of escape. The man did get away, but not before dropping his haul of over-the-counter medications that can be altered to create powerful illegal drugs.
They never saw a weapon, but did see the man reaching into his pants or a pocket at one point.
“They told me what happened when they got back,” said Sgt. Ashley Trivino. “I couldn’t believe it. I had to call the store and they confirmed it.”
The store manager declined to comment and asked that his business not be identified. But the Corps is proud of its future cadets.
“It’s what a Marine would do,” said Sgt. Thomas Wallace. “We tell them that anything they do, good or bad, will reflect on the Marine Corps.”
Trivino also was not surprised.
“What they did lives up to our core values: honor, courage and commitment,” she said.