Herb Kenny’s heart started racing Wednesday as he walked down the steps toward the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry monument in the north Edmonton neighbourhood of Griesbach.
Six years earlier, the 25-year veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces had watched a white box go into the circular stone monument. The box contained a time capsule honouring the 100-year legacy of the PPCLI regiment in Edmonton.
Now, a metal plaque was missing from the side, leaving a large, gaping hole.
“I thought, ‘Oh my God, it’s gone,'” Kenny said of the time capsule. “I ran down to it, got on my knees and looked inside. I saw the white box and it was like a sigh of relief.”
Kenny, Edmonton branch president of the PPCLI Foundation, pulled the intact time capsule out of the monument and took it home for safekeeping.
However, damage had been done elsewhere. Three brass-coloured plaques were missing.
This is the second time military memorials have been targeted in the Griesbach neighbourhood, which is built on the site of a former army base.
In 2017, more than a dozen plaques were stolen from brick pedestals.
Romelo Woolf, 46, was later caught trying to sell the damaged plaques to a scrap dealer. He was sentenced to eight months in jail after pleading guilty to charges of possession of stolen property over $5,000 and fraud under $5,000.
In that incident, the recovered plaques were too damaged to be used, and had to be replaced, at an estimated cost of approximately $70,000.
Kenny said he thinks the thieves will try to sell the metal for scrap again. However, the metal is an alloy, not pure brass, and holds little resale value.
“There is no scrap value to them whatsoever,” Kenny said.
The latest incident hits home for Kenny, who said he is sickened that someone would try to profit from a crime like this.
“Personally, this is offensive,” said Kenny. “People have no sense of dignity, no sense of heritage, it is just sickening, is what it is.”
Kenny said the PPCLI Foundation will replace the missing plaques.
He has also called scrap dealers in the Edmonton area, who promise to be on the lookout for the missing plaques.
Edmonton police spokesperson Cheryl Sheppard said officers are looking into the mischief, but currently there are no suspects are in custody.
She added that it’s too early to speculate on the motivation, but “I can tell you that these kind of crimes are generally motivated by the value of the metals they are made of.”
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