LANCASTER – The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors this week approved a $20,000 reward for help in catching the culprit who vandalized the World War II Memorial at the Lancaster Cemetery and stole an American flag and a POW-MIA flag from the Veterans Court of Honor.
“It’s actually a felony to damage anything at a cemetery, it’s not just a slap on the wrist,” said Cemetery Manager Dayle DeBry.
DeBry said she noticed Monday, April 21, that the flags were gone and the area had been vandalized. Also taken were two bronze vases from the Women Air Force Service Pilots monument and lights from the World War II monument, DeBry said.
An eyewitness later reported seeing a suspicious person at the cemetery on the night of Friday, April 18, DeBry said.
“He said he saw somebody out there around 10:30 at night and called the Sheriff, and they actually never came out,” DeBry said. The suspect is described as a white or Hispanic male, about six feet tall, and wearing a tan jacket and jeans, DeBry said.
“Apparently the person doesn’t have any respect for our country, for the veterans, or for the people buried at this cemetery,” DeBry said.
Support has poured in from the community since the incident.
The stolen American and POW-MIA flags were replaced, thanks to donations from State Assembly candidate JD Kennedy and Grace Resources Director Steve Baker.
Lancaster City Councilman Ken Mann donated $1,000, which will be used for cameras and a security system in the Veteran’s Court; and several other residents gave monetary donations as well, DeBry said.
“We also had a lady come in and donate her father’s casket flag. Her father was a World War I veteran, and she said she thought her father would want us to have it,” DeBry said. “So on Memorial Day we will fly the casket flag in honor of her father.”
“We should have it all looking good again by Memorial Day,” DeBry added.
Desecration of a cemetery is a felony, DeBry said, and she’s hoping the $20,000 reward will encourage residents to help authorities find and arrest the culprit.
Anyone with information on this incident is urged to contact Sheriff’s Department Investigator Jeremy Edwards at 661-940-3883.