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Grave marker thefts draw officials' ire

Published April 22. 2011 05:00PM

Carbon County officials are voicing their feelings on recent thefts of veterans' grave markers in the county.

Commissioner Wayne Nothstein explained that the county received a report that grave markers had been stolen at numerous cemeteries in Nesquehoning.

"I think it's really sad that people are stealing off the graves of those who served our country," he said, adding that the markers are being replaced.

He noted that the replacements will be aluminum grave markers because of the cost of metal.

"I wish there were ways to catch these people," Nothstein said.

Commissioner Charles Getz added, "It's a shame. Those veterans gave their lives so we could have what we have. These people should be prosecuted. They ought to be shot."

Robert Crampsie, county controller agreed with the commissioners, stating that it's amazing how times have changed.

"Years ago, people wouldn't even consider doing something like this," he said. "Today, they don't even give it a second thought."

The thefts happened sometime in early March.

According to the Nesquehoning police report, on March 15, at 12:53 p.m., police were notified that multiple military grave markers were missing.

After counting the missing markers, it was determined that 52 American bronze and copper veterans' grave markers were stolen from St. John's Russian Cemetery and a few markers were stolen from St. Mary's Cemetery, both in Nesquehoning.

A complaint was filed with the police, as well as with the VFW and Carbon County Veterans Affairs office so that replacements could be ordered. The two parishes were also notified of the thefts.

On March 28, at approximately 2:10 p.m., police were notified that after checking records, it was determined that several American bronze and copper flag holders were also removed from St. Cyril and Methodius Cemetery, which is located between St. Mary's and St. John's cemeteries.

A total of 58 markers from World War I, World War II, Korean, U.S. Veteran, and Vietnam veterans' graves were taken by unknown individuals.

No new information is available on the thefts, reported Nesquehoning police this morning.

In other county matters, Nothstein reminded everyone that the second annual Legislative Brunch will take place next Friday, April 29, at the Lehighton Recreation Center, 243 S. Eighth St.

The event will help build a relationship between the legislators of the county and the area organizations. It is also meant to show the importance of the state and federal funding for preventive programs.

The county also commended the Navy Club of Carbon County on its educational program on the American flag that they have been presenting to students at various schools in recent months.

"It was a very impressive program," Nothstein said. "Very educational."

He noted that the program covers the different flags through American history, as well as talks about the proper way to fold the flag.

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