LA port police detain three for harbour plaque theft

LA port police detain three for harbour plaque theft

Los Angeles law enforcement has apprehended three individuals believed to be connected with the theft of several bronze plaques from the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro.

In pursuit of precious metals, CBS News reported that thieves destroyed a memorial honouring those who helped industrialise the Los Angeles harbour over two separate occasions.

Dozens of plaques were taken from American Merchant Marine Veterans Memorial, the International Warehouse and Longshore Union (ILWU) “Bloody Thursday Memorial” and the Japanese Fishing Village Memorial on Terminal Island, prompting the Los Angeles Port Police to initiate an investigation.

According to CBS News, nine plaques were stripped off the monument last November while the more recent theft occurred roughly two weeks ago when another four or five plaques went missing.  

CBS News reported that the apprehensions occurred during a traffic stop in the southwestern region of Los Angeles, however, law enforcement is yet to release the identities of the three suspects.

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“The heartless theft of these plaques was an insult to the memories of families who built this region through the fishing industry, who moved goods as part of the ILWU, and who protected our country during the war as merchant marine sailors,” said Los Angeles City Councilman, Tim McOsker, whose District 15 oversees the area.

“It was an affront to our entire community, and today, the Harbor area and the great people who shaped our history and culture are on the path of justice.”

Los Angeles Port Police Chief, Tom Gazsi, further stated: “This disturbing series of thefts has had a significant emotional toll on members of our community whose loved ones were memorialised both in the maritime and fishing industry.” 

Despite the recent uptick in illicit acquisition of precious metals in the region, the Port of Los Angeles finished 2023 on a high note, processing 747,335 TEU in December 2023, 2.5 per cent higher than the previous year.

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