Edmonton

Griesbach commemorative plaques recovered, but too damaged to salvage

Most of the nearly 20 commemorative plaques stolen from the Griesbach neighbourhood were recovered Wednesday after they were recognized by a local scrap dealer.

'They are so damaged even the writing on them on most is unreadable'

One of the commemorative plaques stolen from the Griesbach neighbourhood this week was found cut up to be sold to a scrap metal dealer. (Edmonton Police Services)

Most of the nearly 20 commemorative plaques stolen from the Griesbach neighbourhood were recovered Wednesday after they were recognized by a local scrap dealer.

But police say the metal plaques are too damaged to be reinstalled.

"Absolutely none of them are salvageable," said Det. Eric Wilde. "They are so damaged even the writing on them on most is unreadable and none of them are in condition to be remounted and displayed."

Wilde said it appears a sledgehammer or some other type of heavy impact tool was used on the plaques, causing heavy damage to the surfaces. Police said they were also pried off the pedestals sometime between Sunday and Tuesday.
The plaques were pried off their stands, which sit at the end of streets in the Griesbach community. (Griesbach Community League)

"The metals that were brought in were severely defaced, cut up and altered to resemble scrap metal," he said. 

"We have to thank the people in the recycling community who recognized the plaques [and] put it together that these pieces of metal were the plaques that were stolen."

Community leaders say they're disappointed.

"We're pretty choked," said Brad Tilley, Griesbach community league president. "We're choked somebody would do that."

Tilley said he's thankful the scrap dealer came forward, so at least people know where the plaques ended up.

Replacing plaques could cost $70,000

"We're hoping they will lay charges to the people who would have done such a thing," Tilley said.
Det. Eric Wilde says police have made no arrests, but have a number of leads. (Gareth Hampshire/CBC)

Each stolen plaque, placed on a cement-and-brick stand at the end of a street, tells the story of the soldier or battle for which the street was named.

Many honoured the nation's Victoria Cross winners, including John Chipman Kerr and Cecil John Kinross.

Tilley said the community will try to replace the plaques, which police estimate will cost $70,000.

Police have some leads in the case though no arrests have been made, Wilde said.

"We encourage any residents who may have witnessed suspicious activity in the Griesbach community over the last several days to contact police," Wilde said.
At least 17 plaques honouring soldiers and battles were stolen recently off the streets in the Griesbach community. (Griesbach Community League)

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