Brass plaques stolen from South Bay war memorial - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Brass plaques stolen from South Bay war memorial

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NATIONAL CITY (CBS 8/CNS) – Thieves are accused of stealing brass plaques from a National City war memorial.

"I am more than angry, I'm a disgusted," said Navy veteran Rick DeVries. "They have no respect for veterans and they have no respect for National City."

Police say the three brass plaques honor local veterans who died in World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars were reported missing from Kimball Park in the 1200 block of D Avenue in National City.

DeVries served 22 years in the Navy and says this theft is beyond disrespectful, "For somebody to do that it takes a really cold and callous person."

He's a past commander at the American Legion Post #255 in National City and on the executive board.

Officers believe two plaques were stolen over the weekend and the third one on Monday night.

"I don't see this as being an act of vandalism but I see this as being theft," said Sgt. Alex Hernandez.

Officers say two of the plaques measure 3-by-4 feet and the other 4-by-5 feet -- had been on display in the location for more than 60 years.

Sgt. Hernandez believes one plaque weighs about 120 pounds. Local metal recyclers say brass is selling for $1.42 a pound, which a thief could make about $170 on one plaque.

CBS News 8 spoke with area recyclers who buy brass and say they haven't seen anyone trying to sell the brass plaques but would notify police if they tried selling to their business.

"I personally do not believe that there is a recycling center on this side of the border that is going to accept that brass, at least I would hope not. If not, they also need to go to jail along with the person that stole that," said DeVries.

His wife also served in the Navy for 25 years says a mural at their post has been hit by vandals but nothing this despicable.

"You see the good, we always want to see that and then when something like this happens, you take it hard inside," said Diane DeVries.

Under California's Penal Code for Business and Professions Codes sections 12600-12610 it states metal recyclers or junk dealers are required to hold payments for three days, make a copy of the seller's identification, and a photo or video of the seller's license plate number. A thumbprint is also required to be in records.

If thieves sell stolen items to a metal recycler, they can be convicted of a misdemeanor and pay a $1,000 fine and up to a month in jail. Each offense is another $1,000.

Recyclers are also banned from buying government property such as manholes and fire hydrants unless sold by the government agency.

Anyone with more information about the thefts was asked to call San Diego County Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477. Tipsters may remain anonymous and could be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

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