City to Replace Stolen Plaque, Increase Surveillance [The Herald]

June 1, 2012

Article as it appeared in The Herald on May 29, 2012

Shelton’s Board of Aldermen is replacing a plaque stolen last fall.

Mayor Mark Lauretti said the city will also be beefing up surveillance to protect city monuments in the future.

Last week the Board of Aldermen approved appropriating $2,200 to replace the metal plaque honoring Commodore Isaac Hull, a commander during the War of 1812.

The mayor said the theft is a sign of the times.

“Metals have become a commodity we can generate revenue from, and the bad guys have also figured that out,” Lauretti said.

War memorial plaques were also reported stolen in Ansonia and Derby around the same time.

“We will be more diligent in the coming years through increased surveillance,” Lauretti said.

State and U.S. legislators have proposed laws that would increase fines and punishment for vandals who desecrate or steal from veterans memorials.

State Senator Kevin C. Kelly (R-21) and state Rep. Jason Perillo (R-113) and Larry Miller (R-122) applauded the final passage of legislation that increases penalties for those who vandalize, possess, war and veterans’ memorials.

Public Act No. 12-38, “An Act Concerning Desecration Of War Or Veterans’ Memorials,” imposes harsher penalties on those who interfere with or vandalize war or veterans’ memorials or monuments. It also increases penalties for unlawful possession, purchase or sale of a war or veterans’ memorial or monument. Both of these offenses become class D felonies and carry a fine of $5,000. It was signed into law on May 14.

“It is my hope that these increased penalties will serve as an added deterrent to those who see war memorials as nothing more than scrap metal,” Kelly said. “We enjoy freedom of expression because of the dedicated service of our veterans, some who died to give us these rights. To use our freedom to desecrate our veterans’ service is repugnant. This law will help deter that conduct.”