Plaques stolen from graves of veterans

missing veterans plaques Magnolia Cemetery RagleyOver the weekend several plaques were removed from the graves of veterans at Magnolia Cemetery in Ragley. Authorities are seeking information on the thefts. 

Trish Welch / Special to the American Press

The Beauregard Parish Sheriff’s Office is investigating the theft of several bronze plaques removed overnight from the graves of veterans at Magnolia Cemetery in Ragley.

According to authorities, the thefts occurred on two separate nights over the weekend. On Saturday morning, a widow found that the plaque on her husband’s grave had been removed and upon further inspection found another to be missing from a grave nearby.

On Sunday, three more plaques had gone missing.

Cemetery manager Trish Welch said the thefts hit “close to the heart” for anyone who has had a loved one serve in the military, and that it struck a chord with the local community.

“This is a punch in the gut for these families. These plaques are incredibly sentimental to the families of a veteran, but they also represent sacrifices made and earn respect from others who observe them,” Welch told the American Press.

The bronze plaques are awarded to a veteran or service member’s family upon the service member’s death, and are installed on the gravesite after burial. Each plaque displays the service member’s name, rank and lists commendations received during their time of service.

On Monday, Welch said one plaque had mysteriously reappeared at a gravesite at the cemetery. She said the plaque appeared to have been put back in place and then covered with mud and grass.Magnolia Cemetery.jpgLocated on Magnolia Cemetery Road in Ragley, the cemetery is the final resting place of more than 166 military veterans, as well as 12 confederate soldiers.

Trish Welch / Special to the American Press

“We don’t know the circumstances surrounding its return, but we are grateful to have it back,” she stated.

BPSO sheriff-elect Mark Herford told the American Press that deputies have increased patrols through the area this week and will continue to carefully monitor the area.

“We take this matter very seriously and we are doing everything we can to find the person or persons responsible,” Herford stated.

A reward of up to $1,000 is being offered by Crimestoppers for any information that leads to the arrest of those responsible for the thefts, but Welch said more than anything the families just wish to have all the plaques returned.

“The main goal here is to just get the plaques back for these families,” she stated. “I’m not sure what they are worth to anyone else, but to the surviving families they are priceless.”

Located on Magnolia Cemetery Road, the cemetery is the final resting place of more than 166 military veterans, as well as 12 confederate soldiers.

Business News

UPDATE: Six injured in plant explosion

Business News

BREAKING: Chemical plant explosion in Sulphur

Local News

Task force chairman: Edwards’ proposed budget doesn’t offer enough funding for I-10 bridge

Local News

FEMA announces extension for Laura, Delta housing

Local News

UPDATE: Payton resigns as coach of New Orleans Saints

Local News

Biden administration officially withdraws vaccine rule

Business

Hunting, fishing app the ‘Airbnb for sportsmen’

Business

Names in the News: People shaping the future of Lake Area business

Business News

Mark Judson column: Nonprofit theft lessons learned

Business

It’s tax time: What to know before you file

Business

Woman guilty of fraud barred from doing taxes in Louisiana

Business News

After delays, Lucky Delta set to be torn down

National Sports

Source: Coach Sean Payton resigns from New Orleans Saints

Crime

1/25: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

Local News

Cowboys look to use home stand to climb Southland standings

Local News

Man killed in auto-pedestrian accident

Local News

‘We can do better’: Residents say not enough coastal protection in SW La.

Crime

Rash of school bus part thefts in Jeff Davis

Crime

Three LC men arrested in Bossier City robbery of Sulphur man

National News

War fears mount as US draws down Ukraine embassy presence

Local News

Living the Dream: Starks native advises others to ‘sieze every opportunity’

Local News

COVID closures continue to impact childcare providers

Local News

SW La. school lunch menus Jan. 24-28

Local News

Informer: No new mask mandate from governor