MAPLE SHADE, NJ - A symbol of pride and tradition has been stolen from a Burlington County town. Residents in Maple Shade say an historic bronze marker has proudly stood in their community for 117 years.
All that's left is an empty space where that monument once stood and police want to know who exactly would vandalize a unique piece of history.
A monument left bare after thieves pried off a bronze plaque. It's an important piece of Maple Shade's history. What used to be there were the names John Roberts and his wife Sarah. They're descendants of the first settlers from England to Maple Shade in 1682.
"Call the cops. Arrest the guy. I mean come on these kids worked hard. The veterans worked hard," said John Radie. He's the Commander of VFW Post 2445 across from where the monument plaque was stolen on Main Street. He's upset not only because a 117 year old piece of history is gone but because of the work recently done to the area where it stood.
"The VFW helped support it. We and the township donated money for it to get done," he said.
Radie says Eagle Scout Andrew Simonsick and his troop recently put in park benches and a paved walkway leading up the monument which was hidden in overgrown grass.
"We are going to present a plaque to him next week for doing such a great job, for re-doing the monument that everybody forgot about. He refurbished everything along with his troop," said Radie.
Police believe someone took the plaque from the monument some time over the weekend, likely for scrap metal.
"It's a shame that for the sake of a couple dollars it will bring somebody that something of historical significance is gone. It's is lost," said Lieutenant Jeffrey Hoch with Maple Shade Police.
Radie hopes anyone involved will have a conscience and return the plaque to its rightful place.
"I hope whoever bought it off of him any scrap yard would turn them in real quick," said Radie.