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Stolen soldier statue sold for scrap



Published: Fri, March 29, 2013 @ 12:01 a.m.

photo

Clarence Huckaba , left, cemetery caretaker, and Gary Pollock, cemetery overseer, look over what is left of a 4-foot military statue that has been a fixture at Mahoning Valley Memorial Park for at least four decades. Thieves cut the statue off at the ankles and ran off with it. Below, Pollock looks over one of several pieces of the statue recovered from a scrap-metal dealer by police. Cemetery officials are hoping for swift justice.

By JOHN W. GOODWIN JR.

and DANNY RESTIVO

news@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

Police said a $36,000 brass statue was stolen from Mahoning Valley Memorial Park before parts of it were scrapped for just $25.50.

The 4-foot brass statue of a soldier recently was stolen from the cemetery, before someone tried to scrap it for cash at the Girard Recycling Center, a police report says.

Youngstown police notified Girard city officers on Wednesday of the stolen statue and the location of the parts at the recycling center. Police said the recycling center produced seven pieces of the statue, including a rifle and a hand. Workers also produced areceipt for the metal. Girard police collected the brass before photographing it and returning it to the park manager.

Caretakers of the memorial park and the families of those laid to rest there want to know who is responsible for stealing the statue and a memorial from the cemetery.

Police said they do have a suspect and Girard police may issue a warrant soon.

Mahoning Valley Memorial Park sits quietly back from the bustling traffic that runs along Youngstown-Hubbard Road. Driving past the small park at high speed might cause one to miss it entirely. It contains the final resting place of those who once defended the country.

Standing guard at the front of the cemetery for at least the last four decades was the bronze statue.

Someone had cut the statue down at the ankles and tried to sell the remaining pieces for scrap. The thief also apparently dug up and removed a bronze memorial marker for a veteran buried there.

The vandalism came to light when the widow of a veteran arrived with hopes of planting Easter flowers on the grave of her husband. Instead, she was taken aback by the missing bronze memorial.

Gary Pollock, one of the overseers of the memorial park, is outraged that someone would be so disrespectful to the veterans buried there and their families.

“This just really ticks me off that someone would come and steal a veteran’s memorial from a veterans cemetery like this,” said Pollock.

Police called Pollock on Thursday to inform him that some of the statue had been recovered, but it had been dismantled and cut into pieces, no longer resembling the bronze figure that stood at the head of the cemetery only days earlier.

“What I got back was a bucket full of tiny pieces,” said Pollock.

Still, Pollock is pleased the scrap dealer contacted police.

“Youngstown police, Girard police and the scrapyard were really on top of this,” he said. “That statue has been there for at least the last 40 years. To replace it will cost thousands of dollars. The cost factor aside, who would be that disrespectful?”

Clarence Huckaba, caretaker of the park, said the cemetery has seen some vandalism and even petty theft of vases and the like over the years, but nothing to this magnitude.

“This is just beyond me,” he said. “This is the first time I have dealt with anything like this.”

Police have not made any arrests in connection with the theft of the bronze items. Huckaba and Pollock are hoping for swift justice.

“I feel the person responsible for this needs to be prosecuted,” said Huckaba. “I don’t want to see a slap on the wrist.”

Pollock said he is not sure what can be done to punish the person and make the cemetery whole.

“They do these things, and there are no consequences. You can’t ask for reimbursement because if you are stealing statues for their scrap value, I don’t see you coming up with $10,000 to $15,000 in cash” to replace one, he said.


Comments

1impdude(19 comments)posted 1 year, 5 months ago

Terrible act of vandalism! Should have a law that desecration of cemetery is a no plea felony. Probably been doing this type of thievery for awhile. Shameful!

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2UticaShale(853 comments)posted 1 year, 5 months ago

As our great country continues to provide and subsidize the "takers," they continue to require more "stuff."

This crime is a reaction of the entitled wanting more for the taking without production, get used to it.

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3Sumpintasay(55 comments)posted 1 year, 5 months ago

Whoever stole it and scrapped it out is probably poopin their pants right about now.

Make an example of the thief. We are too light on crime so there isn't much to fear. Give the criminals something to fear.

Suggest removal:

4Lifes2Short(3875 comments)posted 1 year, 5 months ago

"The cost factor aside, who would be that disrespectful?”

Some pitiful sorry POS that has no respect for no one and only cares about his sorry a@# self. This fool is nothing but a useless DNA. POS don't even belong in society. What a sick filthy cockroach.

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5fillbilly(3 comments)posted 1 year, 5 months ago

The ONLY reason that I can figure as to why these types of crimes continue to plague us is drugs...PERIOD! I've never heard of a crime of this magnitude being commited because the criminal needed money to keep his electricity from being shut off???

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6dmacker(267 comments)posted 1 year, 5 months ago

I suspect this person was not a veteran.
Not employed and may never have been.
he had no skin in the game and no compassion for those that do.
We are slowly creating a Nation of the entitled who have no skin in the game.
They are entitled to what ever they choose to take.
If arrested and jailed we give the three squares a day, a clean bed, television and video games. We keep them in out of the weather and essentially give them what ever they want. Those that I have talked with say it's a better life than they had on the street and safer as we provide security for them at no charge.
What punishment and us working stiffs pay their bills and support their families while they're inside.

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7Bigben(1996 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

UticaShale- -Funny you should talk about takers. How about leave our water supply alone shill. And no we won't get used to it. Find a rock and slither under it.

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