Veteran grave sites robbed in La Porte

- Thieves are targeting veterans’ graves in our area, stealing symbols of their service.

The thefts are happening at Patton Cemetery in La Porte, Indiana.

"It angers me as a veteran, just as a citizen,” said Air Force Veteran Ron Richie.

It’s a problem plaguing the small community in La Porte.

Since Memorial Day, more than 300 bronze stakes with veterans medallions placed at their graves have been stolen from places like Patton Cemetery.

“They were breaking them off for the bronze rods because they knew the medallions would be really hard to get somebody to take them,” said post commander Wayne Zeman.

Police are telling scrap yards to be on the lookout for people trying to sell the stakes.

It’s frustrating for places like the American Legion, who place American flags at the graves of those who fought to protect this country.

"It's bad enough robbing graves and robbing veteran's graves of, like I said, in a lot of cases the only thing that notates it's a veteran's grave in the first place,” Zeman said.

Patton Cemetery is considered one of the oldest in La Porte.

Veterans from both World Wars, Korea and even the Revolutionary War call the resting place home.

So, when their stakes are removed, it leaves nothing behind to show the sacrifices they made.

"Some of them are irreplaceable. I mean we can't even get the ones for the Revolution and that any more. So when we replace one of those guys, we just put one that's kind of a generic one,” Zeman said.

Richie says the sad part is there isn't much that can be done to prevent this from happening.

“If people are determined to steal, they will find a way. They will get in there when there's nobody around and they will take anything of value. It's really sad that these things happen,” Richie added.

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