‘I’m devastated’: Veteran memorial plaques stolen from north Edmonton cemetery

A man who served in the military for 22 years is pleading to the person who stole seven plaques honouring veterans from a north Edmonton cemetery to “do the right thing.”

The funeral plaques were stolen from the Military Memorial section of Northern Lights Cemetery between Tuesday, July 3 and Friday, July 6, police said.

“I’m angry, I’m sad, I’m devastated, I’m betrayed,” veteran Troy Deatrich told CTV News. “Knowing the desecration of a grave, of a veteran’s grave, I can’t even describe the words.

“My heart races, my anger is boiling and yet I just want to cry.”

Police said the seven bronze plaques have a total value of about $6,000. Garry Kokoloski, whose granite business specializes in memorial markers, says the amount of labour that goes into their production is what makes them expensive.

“There’s not a lot of value to the bronze,” Kokoloski, the owner of Edmonton Granite Memorials Ltd., said. “And from my understanding, the only place they could take it to is a foundry to get it melted down. If someone comes in to a bronze foundry with five to six markers, the first thing they’d ask is, ‘Where you get this from?’”

Memorial plaques stolen before

Romelo Woolf, 46, was sentenced to eight months in prison last month after he stole 18 plaques from the Griesbach neighbourhood.

Edmonton police are still investigating the theft and working with the cemetery to find out which families were impacted.

“Do the decent thing,” Deatrich said. “If you have them and they’re not damaged, return them.”

With files from Angela Jung

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