Greene to seek harsher penalties for memorial thefts


State Rep. Len Greene (R-105) plans to put in legislation this year for stricter penalties on people convicted of defacing or stealing veterans’ monuments. FILE PHOTO

HARTFORD — State Rep. Len Greene (R-105) wants to see tougher penalties for people who deface or steal veterans’ monuments.

Greene announced this week he will be putting in legislation during the upcoming session to strengthen current state law and to increase penalties on people convicted of defacing or stealing veterans’ monuments.

“Recently there have been several incidents in the Naugatuck Valley where monuments have been vandalized or stolen to be sold as scrap metal,” Greene said in prepared statement. “These monuments were erected to honor the brave men and women who answered the call of their country, especially those who never came home, and to see them desecrated is reprehensible.”

Over recent months, veterans’ plagues and memorials have been stolen in Derby, Ansonia and Shelton.

Criminal penalties for vandalism or theft are tied to the monetary value of the monument, according to Greene’s office. Greene wants to increase those penalties across the board regardless of the cost of the monument to better reflect the true value of such a memorial.

“The nature of these types of crimes warrants stiffer penalties than we already have,” Greene said in a prepared statement. “Veterans’ monuments and memorials are worth more than the value of their metal, they’re a testament to service and sacrifice and must be better protected. The families of those honored by these monuments have already dealt with the emotional pain of their loss and the least we can do is protect them from additional distress.”