Thief targets American Legion on Veterans Day - KCTV5

Thief targets American Legion on Veterans Day

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A veteran discovered the break-in while collecting flags to decorate a cemetery on Veteran's Day. (KCTV) A veteran discovered the break-in while collecting flags to decorate a cemetery on Veteran's Day. (KCTV)
A rare clock shaped like a globe with an American Legion emblem was stolen on Veterans Day. (KCTV) A rare clock shaped like a globe with an American Legion emblem was stolen on Veterans Day. (KCTV)
Here is a picture of another item that was stolen. (KCTV) Here is a picture of another item that was stolen. (KCTV)
Here is a picture of other items that were stolen. (KCTV) Here is a picture of other items that were stolen. (KCTV)
WATHENA, KS (KCTV) -

On a day meant to honor veterans, someone targeted an American Legion post and stole historical documents and portraits of men who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

A veteran discovered the break-in while collecting flags to decorate a cemetery on Veteran's Day. The Wathena police chief, who is also a veteran, then investigated the disturbing crime on his day off.

Someone came to a secluded spot near the basement door and forced their way inside the Legion Hall, which caused damage to the frame and the door. Once they pried their way inside, they stole priceless pieces of history.

“Nobody is borrowing it,” said Sergeant at Arms Duston Hansen. “We had been broken into. These are all new tool marks.”

Wires are all that's left on the walls at the Riel, Duffy, Judd Wakeman Post 161 in Wathena, since portraits of World War I veterans are gone.

Gone are portraits of "Blackjack" John J. Pershing and Arthur Wakeman, who helped found the legion hall.

They also took historical documents and a rare clock shaped like a globe with an American Legion emblem. “There was a large ledger bound by the old Fruit Growers Bank and it had paper clippings from the 1940's,” Hansen said.

Criminals had previously broken into the post hoping to steal ceremonial rifles. The Legion bought a safe to put an end to break-ins and vandalism, but they came back again.

“It is heartbreaking,” he said. “For this to happen shows so much disrespect. This is a small post with just a few funds.”

They are hoping a change of heart will inspire the thief to return the items no questions asked.

Members hope you will keep an eye out for the stolen items to make sure no one is trying to sell them online.

Post 161 said on Sunday that they will pay "$1,500 for the return of our items or failing that, the prosecution of those responsible." 

They ask anyone with any information about the crime to immediately report it to police. You can call Wathena Police Department at 785-989-4521 or the Doniphan County Sheriff at 785-985-3711. 

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