The perpetrator said the plaques had been cut into pieces and melted down before being taken to a recycling location that he named.
One Plaque Thief in Custody! At a special Community Meeting tonight hosted by Mission Hills Town Council at Francis Parker Elementary School, Capt. Walt Vasquez of the Western Division San Diego Police Department made a welcome announcement: One man, on parole for a previous theft conviction, is in custody and has confessed to stealing some of the plaques. He actually showed police how he had done so with a screwdriver, and then actually took the police to several locations for which he is responsible. He was apprehended with the cooperation of National City Police on a tip from an alert citizen, as yet anonymous to the public. The perpetrator said the plaques had been cut into pieces and melted down before being taken to a recycling location that he named.
SDUptown News-Plaques stolen include:
• The Pioneer Park (children’s playground) plaque
• Six Inspiration Heights neighborhood markers (Sunset Boulevard and Alameda Drive), which are all original markers from 1909.
• Three Private Way markers, one from Sunset Boulevard and Witherby, and two from the top of Juan Street.
• At least nine individual designation plaques from Fort Stockton Drive
• Two from Washington Street (Griswold and Florence Apt. Buildings)
• A Temple Beth Israel plaque
• First Christian Science Church at the corner of Laurel Street and Second Avenue
That recycling center is outside of San Diego and the police in that jurisdiction have been notified. They already had an ongoing investigation of that recycle center for alleged illegal activity. This complaint will be added to their suspicious activities. It was reported that the criminals received between $20 and $22 for each plaque.
This criminal was working with two other men. The second man has been identified and police are searching for him to arrest. The identity of the third is still uncertain. Detail descriptions of the suspects were not released because the investigation is ongoing. The police have requested that the public remain on the alert for all suspicious presence and activity and to report such to the Western Division Police Department non-emergency number (911 only for a crime in progress): 531-2000. Detective Brenner is in charge of this investigation.
One plaque was recovered, but it is not from the Mission Hills Community. The charge against these men will be either Petty or Grand Theft, depending on the valuation of the stolen property that can be attributed to them.
Both our current and future City Council Representatives for Mission Hills were in attendance: Kevin Faulconer and Todd Gloria. They announced a request they have made that will come before the City Council to pay for the replacement of the plaques stolen from public locations. The Councilmen and the other attendees, thanked Officer Vasquez and the four other officers he brought with him: Lt. Kevin Mayer, Lt Mark Hanten, Act. Det. Mark Brenner and Officer David Whitfield. They were congratulated for their efforts on our behalf, and encouraged to keep up the good work.
REMINDER: Stay vigilant and report suspicious people or behavior. And always stay safe.
SDUptown News orig posted 8/19/11: Three homeowners have reported an “orange truck or SUV” on Tuesday between 3-4:30 a.m.along the 2100 and 2200 block of Ft. Stockton with three men inside it who appeared to be hiding something large. SDPD is asking Uptown residents to provide any other information they may have in order to help find the thieves.