Business upset at NJ 9/11 memorial theft pays to replace plaques
ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS — A company will replace the plaques stolen from the Monmouth County 9/11 memorial at no charge.
Three of the four bronze plaques at the Monmouth County 9/11 Memorial at Mount Mitchill were stolen on Sept. 25 or 26, according to police. The plaques line a walkway and depict the timeline of the events of Sept. 11, 2001.
An offer made by Freehold Borough-based W&E Baum has been accepted to replace the plaques at no cost to the county, company owner Hershy Spira told New Jersey 101.5 Spira said an employee had suggested they take on the replacement.
"How could someone stoop so low as to steal something that meant so much to so many people?" Spira said. "Something that symbolized the lives of friends and loved ones that were cut short, something that memorialized such a tragic time in our country’s history? It’s unfathomable. But once that anger wore off, the question became, 'What can we do to help?'"
Spria said all four plaques will be replaced by W&E at a cost of $400 each so that they all match.
"We know that the value of a memorial plaque goes far beyond the monetary worth of the materials used to make it, and the chance to restore that sentimental value to those to whom it means most is one that we are proud to have," Spira said.
The company, which started as a sign business in Manhattan in 1920, has helped with relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 in New Orleans and Superstorm Sandy in 2012, when employees went to Union Beach to distribute food donated by Applebee's to residents without power, according to Spira.
Monmouth County Park System spokeswoman Karen Livingstone said the county is grateful for the company's "generous gesture" and said they received a number of calls and offers of financial support.
"The Friends of the Parks has a dedicated fund that is set up to receive donations for the Monmouth County 9/11 Memorial [and] 100% of donations to this fund will go toward future repairs and improvements at Mount Mitchill," Livingstone said. "We have been referring potential donors to the Friends of the Parks."
Livingstone said that when the new plaques are received, "we will use the most current methods and technologies available to adhere the plaques to the stones."
She said Park Rangers are on duty 24 hours a day and the Park System will work with Atlantic Highlands police on ways to improve security.
Atlantic Highlands police did not immediately return a request Wednesday morning seeking an update on the case.
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