San Luis Obispo County

Community in Shock After Vets Memorial Vandalized in Atascadero

ATASCADERO, Calif- - Atascadero Police say they have a couple leads into who might have vandalized the Faces of Freedom Veterans Memorial in Atascadero. Police have also released surveillance video.

The surveillance video from yesterday shows the maroon Chevy pickup truck circling the parking lot, shortly after you can see a glimpse of it driving through the memorial. The cameras miss the truck actually hitting the two 600 pound marble benches on its way out. "It was hit with extreme violence there were pieces literally thrown 50-60 feet," said Allan Fonzi, a veteran who saw the memorial shortly after the incident.

There is a story to every name on the wall, every brick on the ground, and each one of the benches. "One of the benches right here was dedicated by Mrs. Vicki Morrison who just lost her husband last year," said Fonzi. Morrison and her husband built it together. "Literally working with their hands to put it together brick by brick."

The news of the vandalism also had people like Laura Johnston coming by to make sure her father and grandfather's tributes were still intact. "I didn't know if it was on the walkway," said Johnston. Fortunately for Johnston both bricks still laid without a scratch.

However for tributes left in pieces it might take more than just mending. "When you put something together like that it's the love that goes into it and the person that put it there, there's a wound there and whoever did this needs to help heal that wound," said Fonzi.

Right now it is estimated there is $15,000 in damage. The memorial was built several years ago in 2008 with the help from the community and the city. The total cost was 1 million dollars. 

The vehicle is described as a maroon Chevy pickup with a crew cab. The tailgate of the truck has a chrome strip that reads "Chevrolet." Its model year is 1988-to-97. It has a complete black lumber rack and a tool box in the bed. Police are urging anyone with information about the incident to give them a call.

Atascadero Police: 805-461-5051

Slideshow: Community in Shock After Vets Memorial Vandalized in Atascadero


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