War memorial plaque stolen from Maple Ridge park

Glued on a granite boulder near the cenotaph in Memorial Peace Park, the 12-by-22-inch bronze plate was discovered missing Wednesday, Oct. 5 by a parks worker.

The bronze plaque was stolen off a granite boulder in Memorial Peace Park

The bronze plaque was stolen off a granite boulder in Memorial Peace Park

A plaque honouring soldiers was stolen from a downtown Maple Ridge park last week.

Glued on a granite boulder near the cenotaph in Memorial Peace Park, the 12-by-22-inch bronze plate was discovered missing Wednesday, Oct. 5 by a parks worker.

It listed the names of soldiers from Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows who won awards during the First, Second and Korean wars.

“It’s part of our history,” said Jim MacDonald, president of the Maple Ridge branch of the Royal Canadian Legion.

The parks department is now scrambling to get the plaque replaced before Remembrance Day.

“What point have we reached when people are taking memorials to soldiers who have made sacrifices for our nation?,” asked district communications director Fred Armstrong, who had recently photographed all the memorials in the 224th Street park for an online tribute he was planning ahead of the Nov. 11 ceremonies.

“I cannot comprehend the mentality of the people who would do that.”

Armstrong hopes a bylaw currently in the works – it would require scrap metal dealers to fax to police daily their purchases of copper wire, scrap aluminum or bronze plaques – will hamper thieves.

The bylaw is a result of a Lower Mainland task force on scrap metal dealers and follows tough bylaws already enacted in Vancouver, Richmond and Surrey.

Last October, three commemorative bronze plaques on the Pitt River Bridge were stolen, and later turned up at a scrap metal dealer cut into more than 30 pieces. The plaques, which had been secured by titanium rods, weighed more than 600 pounds combined.