$300 reward offered in cemetery theft

$300 reward offered in cemetery theft
Updated: Mar. 9, 2020 at 4:19 PM CDT
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RAGLEY, La. (KPLC) - Magnolia Cemetery is offering a $300 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person(s) responsible for stealing several military plaques from their gravesites.

Four bronze plaques have been stolen from the graves of veterans at Magnolia Cemetery in Ragley, authorities have confirmed.

If you can take from a cemetery...but to take from a deceased veteran...that’s as low as you can go, said cemetery manager Trish Welch.

What’s supposed to be a final resting place for loved ones doesn’t have that sense of security as it once did.

“It’s total disrespect, total disregard for anyone,” said Welch. “A family actually found that their loved one’s plaque was missing and reported it to the sheriff’s office..while waiting for them to get here...they noticed another family member had one missing also..”

Welch says since the plaques were stolen, they’ve double-checked every marker to make sure it’s in it its rightful place. She says so far two of the four families have been notified. Management is still trying to make contact with the other two families.

“My thing is how would they feel if it was their mom or dad or a grandfather," said Welch. "What if it happened to them? How would they feel.”

The Beauregard Sheriff’s office is now investigating this theft and says the plaques were stolen sometime between March 6th and the 8th. Right now, there are no leads in the case and no surveillance footage.

The Beauregard Sheriff’s Office first received a report of a missing plaque on Saturday afternoon, according to Sheriff Mark Herford. The woman reporting the theft of her husband’s plaque also noticed that another grave in the cemetery was missing a bronze plaque.

However, it appears the thieves returned during the night because three more bronze plaques were reported missing Sunday, Herford said.

The investigation is ongoing.

“If the plaques are not returned there is a process they can apply for a replacement," Welch said.

Welch says a replacement for a veteran’s plaque is usually free of charge. As a response to the theft, management said they’re looking into increased patrols and no trespassing signs near the cemetery.

Herford asked anyone with information about the thefts to call CRIME STOPPERS or to call the Beauregard Parish Sheriff’s Office at 337-463-3281. He reminded residents that tips may be left anonymously.

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