Residents in one Massachusetts community are outraged after the flags marking veterans' graves at a local cemetery were vandalized, apparently by metal thieves after the stakes for their the medallions that hold the flags.
The thieves swiped copper or bronze medallions stakes from at least 18 graves at Mount Vernon Cemetery in Abington, Mass, cemetery superintendent John Burnett told the Enterprise.
“It’s all about the money. I know it for a fact," Burnett told the newspaper, adding that the inscribed bronze medallions weren't taken, presumably because any metal buyer would know they were stolen.
The thefts were discovered by Elaine Harte, who was visiting her husband's grave site last week. She alerted authorities.
"I think it is terrible to do this to those graves. These men fought for our country," Harte told the Patriot Ledger, which reported that copper sells for about $3 a pound, bronze for about $2.25.
William Vegnani, chairman of the Veterans Memorial Trustees Committee, told the newspaper he was "totally livid" at the desecration of the veterans' graves.
"I have been taking care of this place for 20 years, and I never took a dime for it," he said. "Never mind that these veterans were my friends."
He said the cemetery has $600 to replace the old stakes with aluminum ones, which should be less attractive to metal thieves.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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