MERRIMACK — As police continue to investigate the theft of a brass Veterans of Foreign Wars plaque from the outside of the local VFW, post members say they are trying to remain optimistic the sentimental item will be returned.
“This has hit us very hard, but I do not feel defeated. I am keeping an open mind about this,” said Max Quayle, commander of VFW Post 8641.
When Quayle first noticed that the 100-pound emblem was missing from the post’s Memorial Wall, he assumed a post member took it home to be cleaned. After realizing the item — worth about $2,000 — was actually missing, post members filed a police report hoping for some assistance in solving the crime.
“When it disappeared, it really was like ripping the heart out of the post and its individual members,” said Mike Theroux, canteen manager for the post. “It was such a slap in the face, really. This is our family, and it is really just as bad as defacing a cemetery stone, in my opinion.”
The emblem, essentially a 2-foot-by-2-foot plaque, is a replica of the national VFW seal. Quayle remains hopeful that he will return to the post one day and the missing emblem will be sitting there waiting to be hung on the post’s honor wall. Since word has spread about the stolen plaque, Quayle said the amount of public support has been overwhelming. Police have offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the person or people responsible, and other VFW posts from around the area have offered cash donations to help purchase a replacement. The plaque has been missing for about three weeks. Anyone with information about the emblem is urged to contact the Merrimack Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division at 424-3774, or submit an anonymous tip by calling 424-2424 or visiting www.merrimackcrimeline.org.