Police in Washingtonville, New York, are searching for vandals who allegedly cut down a flagpole holding an American flag at a 9/11 memorial honoring fallen firefighters.
The destructed display, which pays homage to five Washingtonville firefighters who lost their lives during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, was discovered Wednesday morning.
Joseph Bucco, mayor of Washingtonville, said a photo of the damaged memorial was sent to him this week. The memorial, he told the Times Herald-Record, is so frequently visited, it must have happened in the dark of night Tuesday.
“There’s always someone sitting on those benches,” he said. “From morning until night.”
Washingtonville Police Chief Brian Zaccaro said the criminals used a tool of some kind to cut through the flagpole and left a message on the part of the pole that remained in the ground, according to the newspaper.
Police have not revealed what the message says.
Bucco announced the village plans to replace the flagpole and the American flag, since it’s part of a village-owned park. The area did not previously have security cameras, though the mayor said some will now be installed.
A reward of more than $3,000 is now being offered to anyone with useful information helpful to the investigation into who vandalized the flagpole.
The memorial, erected on Sept. 7, 2002, shortly before the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks that killed the heroic firefighters, pays respect to firefighters Mark Whitford, Bobby Hamilton, Gerry Nevins, Battalion Chief Dennis Devlin, and Lt. Glenn Perry.