Veteran's Monuments Taken From Dewey Cemetery

Thursday, June 18th 2009, 4:43 pm
By: News On 6

By Craig Day, The News On 6

DEWEY, OK -- Thieves targeted a cemetery in Dewey earlier this week. 

Dewey Police say someone stole the bronze markers on the graves of veterans.  The thefts have police, residents and most of all family members outraged.

Stella Jontra couldn't believe it when her husband said her father-in-law's bronze and granite grave marker was missing.

"How could you be so low?  You evidently crawled out from under a rock.  It's heartbreaking," said Stella Jontra.

It turns out, the monument wasn't the only one taken by thieves.  Another bronze veteran's marker is also missing.  The markers are awarded by the government to veterans upon their death.

To many people who have loved ones buried in the Dewey Cemetery, the thefts are unthinkable.

"I absolutely think it's horrendous.  These guys have fought for our country if they are vets.  I just think it's outrageous and not fair," said Siobhan McDonnell of Dewey.

The thefts were discovered around Memorial Day.  Dewey Police are asking for information from the public to help in the case.

"As a veteran, I am disgusted," said Dewey Police Sgt. Tim Stringer.

They've stepped up patrols and other security measures at the cemetery.  Investigators believe the thieves probably took the bronze veterans' markers to melt down the metal.

"They are dishonoring that veteran's memory and hurting the families in an unimaginable way," said Dewey Police Sgt. Tim Stringer.

As for the Jontra family, the VA and a local funeral home have offered to replace the memorial.  The family says the thieves took away something special to them and left a lot of disappointment and hurt behind.

"He didn't deserve this.  That's just all there is to it, he just didn't deserve it," said Stella Jontra.

Anyone with information that could help in the case, or if any other law enforcement agency has had similar cases, they're urged to call Dewey Police at 918-534-2389.