Norwood Police are investigating the thefts of dozens of bronze flag holders, taken from the graves of veterans buried in the Highland Cemetery on Winter St.
Police said that Cemetery Superintendent Paul Ranalli began receiving reports of missing markers from family members in September. The department began to investigate the incidents and notified area junk dealers to be on the lookout for anyone trying to turn them in for scrap.
On Monday, Oct. 15, a cemetery worker noticed that the section in which he was working had been stripped of approximately 25 flag holders.
"The flag holders taken are generally solid bronze and feature military service in World War I, World War II, Korea, or Vietnam," a police statement reads. "Some may indicate a fraternal organization or service to a police or fire agency."
The replacement cost of these stolen flag holders is $40-$50 each, police said. Their value as scrap is approximately three dollars each.
"One marker was taken from the grave of a Norwood man who was killed in action in World War II," the statement reads. "Under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 272, Section 73, removing a flag holder from a grave, or any such theft from a grave or memorial to the dead, is a felony, punishable by five years in prison."
Norwood Police have notified junk and scrap dealers in eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island to watch for such items being turned in for scrap. They are also asking the public to be vigilant when visiting the cemetery for anything or anyone suspicious.
Anyone finding any of these items discarded on or near their property should notify the Norwood Police Department at 781-440-5100.