Vandals hit vets memorial

Local law enforcement is investigating a report of vandalism and theft at the Big Spring Vietnam Memorial believed to have occurred sometime between Friday night and Sunday morning.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.Sgt. Tony Everett, public information officer for the Big Spring Police Department, said damage to the memorial was limited mainly to the AH-1 “Apache” helicopter currently on display.“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.”Everett said investigators will be reviewing video surveillance footage from the site.“This vandalism is despicable and in every way imaginable,” Everett said. “For our local veterans — especially those who served during the Vietnam era — that memorial is much more than a few military vehicles and displays. It represents something much deeper and more personal. For someone to do this isn't just a show of disrespect for local law enforcement, it's taking a cheap shot at all those men and women who served during that difficult time.”According to Everett, 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).