YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - A brass statue honoring our Valley's veterans, is stolen from a Youngstown cemetery, and sold for scrap.
Authorities at Memorial Valley Memorial Park believe the same thief or thieves, could also be responsible for stealing a veteran's grave marker. The crimes were discovered on Wednesday.
Clarence Huckaba, the cemetary caretaker at the Mahoning Valley Memorial Park on Youngstown-Hubbard Road, says he's devastated that a suspected thief in the night sawed-off a four foot brass statue of a soldier, and sold it for scrap.
"To the veterans that sacrifice so much... For us to have this symbol taken, you know, that's like a slap in the face," Huckaba says.
The monument has been around the cemetery for decades to pay tribute to those who have died fighting, serving and honoring our country in the armed services.
But that's not all that a thief has now dishonored at the grave site.
"They took a grave marker from over here, and the foundation to a veteran's grave marker out of the ground," Huckaba says.
Girard Police were made aware of the crime by Youngstown Police Detectives and helped recover seven pieces of the brass statue after someone tried to scrap it for cash at Girard Recycling Center.
21 News has also learned that the main torso of the statue, weighing over 200 pounds has been recovered after being scrapped just over the border in Pennsyvlania.
"This thing stood here for 40 years. There are veterans buried here. They defended our country. They died so that people could come and do this kind of thing? That's pretty upsetting to me that people are that disrespectful," says Gary Pollock, overseer at the Mahoning Valley Memorial Park.
Police say the thief that chopped up the monument, sold it for scrap, and pocketed just $25.50.
The four-foot statue was valued at about $36,000. However, you can't put a price on something that stood to honor those who died for their country.
While authorities at the cemetery try to understand the shameful act, Girard Police Detectives do have a suspect.
Authorities say they will continue to search for the remaining pieces of the statue, as well as the veteran's grave marker, hoping to return the cemetery to a place of rest and honor for the Mahoning Valley's military heroes.