Plaques for Veterans’ Grave Sites Reported Stolen in Cedar Rapids
By Jeff Raasch, Reporter
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Several bronze plaques destined for veterans’ graves were stolen within the past couple months from a storage shed in Cedar Rapids, police said.
Sgt. Cristy Hamblin said six plaques, valued at up to $1,000 each, were reported missing last week from a shed behind Iowa Valley Monument, 2604 Williams Blvd. SW. The hefty rectangular plaques were being stored there by Brosh Chapel, before installation on grave markers.
According to the police report, the plaques were stolen between April 1 and June 1. Hamblin said a door to the shed was noticed open a couple months ago, but no one realized then that the plaques had been stolen.
Police suspect the thief or thieves stole the plaques to exchange them for cash. Thefts of copper and other metals have been on the rise in recent years.
Brosh Chapel owner Matt Linn said the actual number of missing plaques could be as high as 12. He said the plaques had been stored at other locations since 2008, when floodwaters destroyed the funeral home’s previous building at 1028 Third St. SE. After the flood, thieves got into the business and stole a few caskets for the copper, he said.
“Anything these days that has a dollar value is being stolen,” Linn said. “It’s certainly not a good thing. It’s just amazing what some people will do for some dollars.”
The Veterans Administration provides plaques to the families free of charge. Linn said the VA will issue a replacement marker, but he was unsure, at this point, if there would be a cost to the funeral home.
Police are continuing to investigate, although Linn said he’s sure the plaques will never be recovered. He said the theft has left at least one family waiting to place a plaque on a grave site.
“If they’ll take from a veteran, they’ll take from anybody,” Linn said. “What I wonder is, if they had a veteran in their family, would they have done it? Probably, maybe. It comes down to dollars and cents.”
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