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Hundreds of bronze flag holders stolen from the graves of veterans

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Hundreds of bronze flag holders stolen from the graves of veterans: Nora Muchanic reports on Action News at 6 p.m., September 20, 2017 (WPVI)

Officials at the Mount Holly Cemetery estimate about 200 bronze grave markers have been stolen from the graves of veterans.

"These people fight for our country and our freedom and then they are disgraced. It's unbelievable," said Nicole Johnson of Pemberton N.J.

Air Force Veteran Dan Rigsby said it's basically grave robbing.

"They've taken their identity from the graves, that what it's doing," Rigsby said.

There are military graves in Mount Holly that go back to the Civil War. Cemetery President Jimmy Johnson said thieves pulled the American flags out of the bronze markers that hold them, sticking the flags back in the ground.

"These things cost about $35 a piece brand new and it's roughly about $7000 worth of stuff that's been taken and they might get $100-$150 in scrap," he said.

Johnson said he personally called or visited a number of scrap dealers in the area to let them know to be on the lookout for the stolen bronze markers.

Mt. Holly Police Chief Tom Mastrangelo said these types of crimes are usually committed by someone that has a criminal history.

"It's easily converted to cash, and cash can be used at that point to buy any illicit drugs on the street," he said.

State police responded to a report of 250 more grave markers stolen from Sacred Heart Cemetery in Hainesport.

"My suggestion is for people who want to have that flag holder is get a plastic one, get an aluminum one," said Paula Pietrow, cemetery manager. "[Thieves] don't like them. They can't get any money for them."

Police are actively investigating the grave marker thefts and are asking anyone with information to contact them.

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