MONMOUTH COUNTY, N.J. – In a tragic display of hateful vandalism, officials discovered that three commemorative plaques created in honor of those who died on September 11th were destroyed and removed from their location in Monmouth County, New Jersey.
And now police need your help tracking down the ones who are responsible.
NJ.com reported that a reward is being offered for any information that leads to the arrest of the suspects who vandalized the memorial.
Four bronze plaques were created and displayed at Mount Mitchell Scenic Overlook in Atlantic Highlands. Visitors can get a view of the New York City skyline and Sandy Hook Bay from the quiet area. The memorials display a written account of the details and timeline behind the tragic attacks that took the city by surprise 18 years ago.
But now three of those four plaques have been destroyed, Atlantic Highlands police said, with the memorials being quite literally ripped out and removed from the property.
— NJ.com (@njdotcom) September 30, 2019
Police say that the plaques were bolted and glued to the rocks that they were displayed on, but the vandals used tools to pry them from their home.
NJ.com’s report noted that the memorial includes the names of 147 Monmouth County residents who died during the Sept. 11 attacks as well as a timeline of each of the significant events during that day.
The community was struck by the memorial’s destruction.
“It’s appalling,” said Ellen Stilletti, who visited the memorial with her daughter. “I brought my daughter here to show her this and how beautiful it is. It’s really sad someone would stoop to this level.”
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Since the thefts, which police surmised occurred between Wednesday night and Thursday morning, city officials have received a number of calls about providing donations in order to replace the stolen plaques.
“We’re very disappointed by the loss of the plaques but are working to replace them as soon as possible,” Monmouth County Park System spokeswoman Karen Livingstone said.
Police encouraged the thieves to “look into their conscience” and do the right thing. Officials are hoping that the plaques can be replaced within the next eight to 10 weeks.
So how can you help?
Police are looking for anyone with any information that may lead to the arrest of any suspects that were involved.
Anyone with tips for law enforcement are encouraged to call the Atlantic Highlands Police Headquarters at (732) 291-1212. Calls may also be placed to Monmouth County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-671-4400. Crime Stoppers has noted that they are willing to pay up to $5,000 for information regarding wanted criminals or fugitives.
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