Search for vandals continues

Local law enforcement officials say they are following up on several leads from the vandalism and theft at the Big Spring Vietnam Memorial believed to have taken place Aug. 25, however, no arrests have been made.According to Sgt. Tony Everett, public information officer with the Big Spring Police Department, the investigation into the vandalism and theft is ongoing.“We have several leads we are following up on at this time,” Everett said. “This is an ongoing investigation and I can't really say much more than that.”Initial reports indicate the attack on the local memorial occurred sometime between Friday night and Sunday morning, the weekend of Aug. 25.Damage was reported in two areas of the memorial, including the helicopter display. According to law enforcement officials, items were also taken from the display, including a World War II web belt and canteen which were on display in the Fallen Soldier Memorial case.Everett said damage to the memorial was limited mainly to the AH-1 “Huey Cobra” helicopter.“Whoever did this actually climbed up onto the Apache helicopter and broke out the window on it,” Everett said. “The damage to the window is valued at $2,000. Once they got into the helicopter, they took the mannequin seated in the cockpit and a clock from inside the display. The mannequin is valued at $2,000 and the clock is valued at $5,000.”Beside the obvious damage to the former military helicopter, Everett said the clock which was taken also poses a health risk.“According to the member of the Big Spring Vietnam Memorial Committee who filed the report, the clock contains radioactive material,” Everett said. “If it should somehow come open, it poses a serious health and safety risk.Jerry Groves, a member of the Vietnam Memorial Committee, said the local organization is still waiting on an estimate to repair the damaged areas.Crimestoppers is offering a substantial reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for the attack on the memorial.“Local Crimestoppers will pay up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest of these scumbags,” Everett said. “You may remain anonymous and no caller ID is ever used.”Anyone having information regarding this crime is asked to contact Everett at 432-264-2558 or Crimestoppers at 263-TIPS (8477).Also, a reward fund for area residents who would like to contribute has been set up at State National Bank, according to Groves. The account is listed under the Big Spring Marines Association. For more information, contact Groves at 432-816-9682 or Charlie Lewis at 432-263-0278.