A war memorial in Georgia dedicated to those who served this country is facing some costly repairs after extensive damage was done by vandals last month.
The Walk of Heroes War Veterans Memorial in Conyers faced an estimated $200,000 in repairs after four people broke into the memorial park located about 25 miles outside of Atlanta on Dec. 15 and used tools and tree branches to pry multiple bronze pieces from their mounts.
“When I got to the site, I felt like I was coming to a funeral,” Darin Riggs, a board member for the memorial, told FOX 5 Atlanta. “It was just heart wrenching for me. It just was not pleasant to come out here that day.”
The Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office said three people have been arrested so far in connection with the desecration of the site. On Tuesday, authorities in Union City arrested Bryan Loys Sears, 25, of Weatherford, Texas and charged him with criminal trespass and felony theft by taking.
Deputies previously arrested Keshia Martin Black, 42, of Newnan and Wendall Tolbert, 51, of Taylorsville. Investigators have obtained a warrant for a fourth suspect, but would not release that person’s name.
“This case has taken us to Union City, Coweta County, and Meriweather County,” Rockdale County Sheriff Eric J. Levett said in a statement. “We want to make sure that we send this message to the remaining suspect. This was a terrible crime. This was disrespectful to many men and women who sacrifice their lives each and every day and have sacrificed their lives in the past for our country.”
Authorities were able to recover many of the stolen metal pieces, but they are currently being held as evidence in the case. A sculptor may not then be able to use them for the restoration of the memorial, according to police.
Tommy Clack, the president and chairman of the board for the memorial, said in a letter the county has insurance on the site but he is unsure what the policy will cover.
“We do not want to use this attack, on the hallowed ground of the WALK OF HEROES, to raise funds; but, we are going to need to raise funds to: One, ensure all the specific sites, that were vandalized, are repaired/replaced/fixed; two, accomplish all previously scheduled and needed repairs throughout the Memorial; three, move forward with expansion,” he wrote.
Riggs and others who work to maintain the memorial hope the community will help them raise the funds necessary to rebuild it, and are accepting donation’s on their website.