A startling discovery was made by Dennis Spearman after the snow melted from Syracuse Cemetery.
Bronze markers had disappeared.
Spearman, caretaker of Syracuse Cemetery, notified the cemetery board in April that the bronze plaque next to the burial site of Samuel Crosson was missing. The plaque, purchased by several women’s organizations, was dedicated in 1987 for the town’s sesquicentennial. It was bolted to a post next to Crosson’s gravestone. It honored the town founder and was unveiled by his great-great-great-granddaughter, Donna Gosey.
The marker stood in the old section of the cemetery, which Crosson had donated to the community before the town was platted. Many of the Crosson family are buried near the town’s forefather. Their gravesite locations were nearly lost, but for the town’s centennial celebration the sites were relocated and the headstones were reset. The plaque was another means to note the town’s history and the final resting site of one of the founders.
While the original cost of the marker is unknown, a replacement could cost in excess of $1,500.
Bruno Wolski, commander of Syracuse American Legion Post 223, noted the post was made aware of approximately 24 bronze markers taken from graves of its members. “The ones that were taken were solid brass,” he stated, noting the post is attempting to replace the markers made of a different material. All markers, they were aware were stolen, were replaced by Memorial Day.
“The only reason it came to our attention was family members asked if we had taken them,” Wolski stated.
Both the American Legion and VFW place these markers at the grave sites of their members and hold the American flag. Markers have also been placed at grave sites of veterans who were not members of either organization, depicting the service corps served. Most of the markers bore the name of either the American Legion or VFW.
Wolski noted the loss is estimated at approximately $850.
It also appears these items were taken from the front portion of the cemetery as markers in other areas were found to be undisturbed.
Syracuse Police Chief Tony Ciriello noted the thefts may be similar to the theft of other recyclable materials such as copper and metal — to exchange for cash. While the attempt to unload a large plaque and numbers markers should throw up a red flag to salvage companies, some companies don’t follow the law.
He noted such salvage companies as Stuckman Salvage and Lewis Salvage follow the law and keep records of sellers and the items. Yet the items could have easily slipped through going unnoticed.
Individuals who may have information as to the disappearance of these items can contact the Syracuse Police Department at 574-457-3366.