Bronze Thieves Loot World War II Veterans Graves in Pleasantville, NJ
PLEASANTVILLE — Police are investigating the theft of the bronze grave markers of World War II veterans from a cemetery that are being broken and sold for scrap.
At least six plots have been vandalized at the Atlantic City Cemetery in Pleasantville, according to Pleasantville police Capt. Stacey Schlachter. The vandals have smashed the concrete gravestones into pieces and removed the markers for scrap, Schlachter told 6 ABC Action News.
Detectives were able to recover one of the stolen markers from a scrapyard, Schlachter told 6 ABC Action News. Some of the placards were left with bent corners by the thieves who were unable to remove them.
Atlantic City Cemetery Office Manager Connie Edwards told The Press of Atlantic City the thefts were first noticed on April 21. The vet's name, rank, military branch and dates of service are included on the marker.
What's the attraction of bronze?
Like catalytic converters stolen for the metals inside, and houses stripped of copper piping, it's an easy way to get cash, according to Seaside Heights Police Chief Tommy Boyd, who is not involved with the Pleasantville case.
Bronze is worth around $2.50 per pound, according to several scrap metal websites.
"They're drug addicts and they need a quick score. They take the bronze to these smelting shops which are not regulated. They walk in with bronze they're probably paying him 25 cents on the dollar," Boyd said. "This is all fueled by drugs."
Schlachter told 6 ABC Action News that the thieves could be facing both state and federal charges of desecration of property and theft.
Schlachter asked that anyone with information about the thefts call Pleasantville police at 609 641-6100.