The family of Al Matthews, a former US actor, singer and Marine who served in the Vietnam War, say they are devastated by the loss of thousands of euros worth of personal belongings, heirlooms and family memorabilia that has been stolen from their La Zenia home, whilst lying empty during lockdown.

Talking to The Leader, Al’s wife, Barbie, said that the thieves had drilled out the locks, dismantled the alarm system, cleared out personal belongings, and stolen thousands of Euro’s worth of precious items.

“Unfortunately, the neighbours heard nothing as the criminals stole our possessions quietly during the day and into the night.”

“They went into every room, every cupboard, every drawer, totally violating our family Spanish second home. They have invaded our safe personal space here in Spain. We as a family are gutted beyond words.”

Mrs Matthews said that the household, garden items and the computer equipment that was stolen are all material things and can, in time, be replaced, “but the personal items, jewellery, watches, clothing and memorabilia, of a father and grandfather who passed away in September 2018 are priceless and irreplaceable. There are no words to express how the family are feeling about the loss of these items.”

She went on to describe the thieves as ‘heartless and selfish’ without any sentiment or care, about the emotional damage they have caused to her family. “The emotional cost is immeasurable,” she added.

Matthews retired in Spain in 2005 after developing his artistic career in Britain, where he had previously achieved some success as a singer, reaching number 16 on the UK Singles Chart with a song named Fool, in 1975. He also worked in television, appearing alongside Ant and Dec in the British soap Grange Hill in the late 1970s and additionally hosting a music show on BBC Radio 1.

Sergeant Apone in Aliens
Sergeant Apone in Aliens

Major film roles included appearances in Superman III (1983), The Fifth Element (1997) and Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), but he is best remembered for playing Sergeant Apone in Aliens (1986) where, as a colonial marine he led a squad in their fight against predatory extra-terrestrials.

His character provided inspiration for Sergeant Avery Johnson, a character in one of the world’s biggest video game franchises, Halo. Nearly 30 years later, he provided the voice for Johnson in the video game Aliens: Colonial Marines (2013).

Al Matthews died at his Orihuela Costa home in September 2018, leaving behind effects and valuable memorabilia collected during his successful film and acting career.

Whilst some of the items were donated by Al to his local pub ‘The Cambridge’ in La Zenia, and his trusty scooter to the Royal British Legion, he retained most of the items which have now gone missing.

Barbie Matthews explained that none of the collectables were ever put onto the open market so if you become aware of any that are being offered for sale they are most certainly stolen. She asked that you immediately contact the police who have a list of the missing items.

She said “The family have not and will never sell anything that belonged to their father and grandfather, but these heartless thieves most certainly will.”

On the subject of the break in itself Barbie appealed for people to be vigilant, especially if you do not live here permanently. “These thieves have no heart and no conscience,” she said. “We as a family are trusting in the Lord and the Spanish law, that they will be brought to justice and face the consequences of their despicable act.