About 40 veteran flag holders were reportedly stolen from graves at a cemetery in La Porte, Indiana, this week.
President of the Cemetery Board, Scott Harris, called the police and told them that the flag holders, which are valued at $40 each, had been taken sometime between Friday and Monday.
“Veteran grave markers have been stolen from area cemeteries in the past. According to previous reports, about 50 grave markers were stolen from the Patton Cemetery in 2015 and about a dozen bronze markers were stolen from Rolling Prairie Cemetery in 2012,” the La Porte County Herald-Argus noted.
Each of the flag holders was unique to a veteran’s grave and was purchased by members of that veteran’s family. The holders also represented the different kinds of service, according to WSBT.
“We just want to try and get these items back for the families, because like I said, you can’t get more disrespectful than actually taking from a grave site from someone that served our country,” said Captain Bill Degnegaard of the La Porte City Police Department.
“And this is something the families like to do to honor our veterans, and we would like to get those items back for them,” he concluded.
Many of the flags that were previously in the holders are now lying on the ground.
Patton Cemetery Board Vice President and Center Township Trustee Lisa Peurzakowski said she is saddened by the recent incident.
“This is sad because these men and women went to war for us so that we could have the freedom that we have now,” she commented. “And for somebody to come and take those emblems that were there, put there by the different organizations, steal them and probably scrap them for money, we have no idea, but it’s really sad that it’s come down to where they have to start doing stuff like that.”
On Wednesday, the La Porte Police Department asked anyone with information about the flag holders to contact the department at 219-362-9446.
However, Peurzakowski said this is not the first time Patton Cemetery has had trouble keeping people off of the property at night. She also noted that someone had dumped trash there before.
“It looks like we’re going to have to work on something else. We don’t have any electricity out here, but there’s got to be a way of maybe putting cameras somehow,” she commented.
Peurzakowski also noted that the theft will be probably be discussed at an upcoming board meeting.