VILLAGE OF ISLANDIA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Officials are hoping a $5,000 reward will help them get their hands on the person who stole a United States Marine Corps medallion off the Village of Islandia veterans memorial.
The village constructed the veterans memorial 10 years ago. It features oversized medallions for all five branches of the military, but only the Marine medallion, which is two feet wide and weighs 10 pounds, was removed.
The medallion was stolen from the memorial located on Old Nichols Road and Johnson Avenue some time after midnight Sunday.
“We are disgusted that someone would deface the memorial like this. It shows total disrespect to the veterans who live in our village and in Suffolk County. The memorial has become a landmark in Suffolk County for our veterans,” said Village of Islandia Mayor Allan Dorman. “We are working with police to find the culprit.”
U.S. Marine Corps veteran Sgt. Erick Torres said he is disgusted by the blank space he now sees where the Marine emblem once proudly stood.
“I think this is horrible. I can’t believe someone would actually take the Marine Corps emblem,” he said.
Officials said it must have taken considerable time and effort to pry away the circular medallion, which was secured to the cement foundation by four bolts.
“It’s certainly not easily removed. You had to remove it definitely with a tool, like a screwdriver or a pry bar,” Dorman said.
Residents said the memorial serves as the centerpiece of the small community’s pride in its veterans.
“This is something that our veterans worked very hard for and fought hard for, and these idiots come and steal something that was there to memorialize them. I really think it’s really disgusting,” Jose Depino said.
Torres told CBS2 he visits the memorial daily. It includes a plaque with the names of all local veterans who served, including his own.
“It tears into me because this is for all the veterans, not only in the Village of Islandia, but abroad,” he said. “This is no way to respect a veteran by stealing the Marine Corps emblem.”
The mayor said the village is offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction of the person responsible.
“In the meantime, we’re going to repair the damage and are going to continue to have our Veterans Day services and Memorial Day services at the triangle,” Dorman told WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall.
Anyone with any information is asked to call Village Hall at (631) 348-1133 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS (8477).