Vietnam Memorial Stolen From Walnut Park

Discovered missing yesterday, although theft may have occurred earlier


A bronze plaque commemorating 15 Petaluma soldiers who died in the Vietnam War has been stolen from Walnut Park.

The plaque was reported stolen Monday, but may have been removed as early as Christmas, said Petaluma Police Department spokesman Lt. Tim Lyons.

The memorial plaque was located near the Walnut Park gazebo and appears to have been sanded off, said Joe Noriel, president of the Petaluma Historical Museum, which is now raising money to replace the memorial.

“This is a really sacred memorial and has been turned into an economic opportunity for someone,” Noriel said.

The plaque is approximately 25 inches wide and 30 inches loong and was first put in the '70s.

Items made from bronze, copper and other precious metals are regularly targeted by thieves who take them to scrap yards in exchange for cash.

Donations for a new Vietnam War Memorial can be sent to the Petaluma Museum at 20 4th St. Petaluma, CA 94952.

Erik January 09, 2013 at 09:01 PM
I don't understand why we can't have better controls around these 'scrap yards'. If those people would stop buying these stolen items (plaques, wires, cooling coils, etc.) then the problem would go away.
Frankie2011 January 09, 2013 at 09:35 PM
It's sad that the "perpetrators" don't have any scruples in what is taken. What a shame. It's also sad that the economy is so pathetic that people have to steal and rob to live. I truly hope there are jobs available for the local Petaluma people, considering all the monies going towards the economic development in our area.
MICHAEL P WILSON "Independent Kid" January 10, 2013 at 04:25 AM
I have a friend who was a CHP Investagter in the 1980s. They busted a scrap yard one time, with 3 million in aluminum bridge guardrail. The yards get it in and pay pennies on the dollar.
Brent Ainsworth January 10, 2013 at 05:56 AM
A similar theft took place in Novato last summer. A plaque honoring Yankees great Lefty Gomez was pried off a stone at a field named after him ( http://patch.com/A-vPZ7 ). And in 2011, a 600-pound bronze statue of a pelican was ripped off at a Novato park ( http://patch.com/A-mK7B ).
MICHAEL P WILSON "Independent Kid" January 10, 2013 at 06:04 AM
Brent may I suggest some investigative reporting. You have my permission to use the Patch credit card,For but not limited to Hotel stays and meals. I would suggest starting at the Scrap yards in Oakland.
Karma January 10, 2013 at 06:38 AM
Hopefully the scrapper will do the right thing and hit him over the head with it and knock some sense into him.
Jerome J Ghigliotti Jr January 10, 2013 at 08:00 PM
No, people have to steal to buy drugs. With our welfare system no one has to steal to get food. No one.
Jerome J Ghigliotti Jr January 10, 2013 at 08:03 PM
I hope that the scrapper is a Vietnam veteran, he will know what to do. Otherwise the 57,000 men and women who died in that war must haunt the perpetrators for the rest of their miserable lives.
Darris January 10, 2013 at 09:46 PM
My husband tells me that at one salvage yard he's familiar with they take photographs of the person bringing in the scrap metal in addition to a photo of their driver's license. When they nail this thief a photo of him in the paper and on the web would be in order.
The Happy Medium January 10, 2013 at 10:46 PM
When is there going to be a law that states that scrappers and metal buyer must determine if the item is stolen. Obviously these pieces are. Obviously people are ripping out wiring from old phones and anything they can.... Why aren't the scrappers being pressured more to stop it? And who do THEY sell to..... And.... who can WE go to ask them to initiate this process. ???
MICHAEL P WILSON "Independent Kid" January 11, 2013 at 12:51 AM
I hope he runs into a Vietnam veteran scrap yard owner. Boy that would be sweet justice.
Perry Tradesman January 11, 2013 at 08:11 AM
I just saw this about the memorial being stolen- and I could never imagine so disrespecting anyone who died- let alone died while serving there country, omg this makes me so angry.........
Craig Belfor January 11, 2013 at 03:34 PM
We need to do a sting operation on scrap yards. They promote this crime by being the fence for stolen goods. All scrap yards should get ID, photos of the perp and the goods, and issue only checks. Scrap yards should be fined for violations, caught by the same sting operations that police use to target stores selling booze to kids.
r bobbie January 12, 2013 at 10:53 PM
that already happens. I work construction and occasionally have scrap wire to turn in. The scrap yard takes a photo copy of sellers D.L. and the seller is made to wait 7 days for any theft reports.
Perry Tradesman January 16, 2013 at 06:40 AM
This is off the topic-(MICHAEL P WILSON "Republican Kid") I was just wondering why do you have the American flag pic upside down? What does it symbolize?


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