Thieves stealing from veterans’ graves - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Thieves stealing from veterans’ graves

SENECA COUNTY, OH (Toledo News Now) -

Law enforcement and county officials are on the lookout for thieves who are targeting local cemeteries and stealing shocking items.

Cemeteries in Tiffin and McCutchenville have been the primary targets for scrappers. Over the last year, thieves have been stealing the flag holders that mark the graves of veterans.

The brass and steel medallions are issued for every Seneca County veteran, and they cost the Veterans Services $30 each.

"Over the years, periodically, we would lose one or two," said Mac McAuliffe, director of the Seneca County Veterans Services. "It became a big year a couple of years ago."

The medallions are scrapped for quick cash, but a state law introduced a few years ago made it illegal to possess them.

"It's essentially desecrating a grave, and it's really an insult," McAuliffe said. "It's an insult to the veteran; it's an insult to the family."

Now scrappers are taking the steel rods the medallions are on, or they are trying to shred the medallions themselves.

Officials say it is difficult to catch the thieves in the act because most cemeteries are open and unlit, so it's up to local residents to be vigilant, and recyclers themselves to turn the thieves in.

"If enough people who are caught doing this serve enough time, other people will get the idea that this isn't a worthwhile endeavor," said McAuliffe.

You can report all stolen veteran flag holders to the Seneca County Veterans Services at 1-800-820-0189.

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Copyright 2013 Toledo News Now. All rights reserved.

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