Fredericktown PD: 2 suspects admit to damaging WWI plaque - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff


Fredericktown PD: 2 suspects admit to damaging WWI plaque

Robert Halpin (Source: Fredericktown PD) Robert Halpin (Source: Fredericktown PD)
Gregory Hanks (Source: Fredericktown PD) Gregory Hanks (Source: Fredericktown PD)
(Source: KFVS 12, Mike Sletten) (Source: KFVS 12, Mike Sletten)

Two men are facing felony charges after a plaque meant to honor Heartland veterans went missing.

Police in Fredericktown, Missouri say a bronze plaque was stolen from Memorial Park sometime in July.

According to police, formal charges have been filed after two suspects admitted to damaging the plaque.

The suspects, Robert Halpin and Gregory Hanks, both of Fredericktown, were arrested and taken to the Madison County Jail on $10,000 cash only bond. They were charged with felony receiving stolen property.

Police say the suspects admitted to dragging the plaque behind a truck, trying to scrape the names off. They also allegedly tried to sell it at a scrap yard.

According to police, the suspects are involved in other thefts, as well.

The plaque listed the 37 names of Madison County veterans who served in WWI.

Fredericktown Sgt. Michael Sletten was on patrol earlier this month when he noticed the plaque missing.

"It's a tribute to our veterans and I think whoever took it was very disrespectful."

It appears thieves pried the one hundred pound bronze slab from its brick base at the entrance of the park.

Sletten, who also volunteers with Historic Madison County, the counties historical records groups, said the plaque and memorial were erected in 1921.

A plaque identical in size sits just across the walkway from the empty base.

That marker commemorates the park’s land donation from B.B. Cahoon in 1919.

Sletten said he believes thieves tried to remove that slab as well, but they were unsuccessful. 

Police say an area scrapyard reported two white males driving a red or maroon SUV tried to sell a plaque matching the description of the missing one.

The scrapyard declined the purchase.

Sletten said it could cost thousands of dollars to replace the plaque if it is not recovered.

Police ask if you see the plaque, give them a call.

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