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Acadia Parish cemeteries still trying to replace veteran plaques

Graveyard theft
Posted at 7:22 PM, Nov 17, 2021

Staff from Geesey-Ferguson Funeral Home in Crowley are still trying to replace copper plaques marking the graves of deceased veterans that were stolen back in April of this year — and they aren't the only ones.

Anthony "Tiger" Istre, funeral director with Geesey-Ferguson, told KATC that at least half a dozen plaques were stolen from Woodlawn Cemetery where he often works.

"We are still attempting to locate the veterans' plaques that were stolen," Istre said. "However with the police report, we are working with the Veterans' Administration to replace the plaques that were stolen at Woodlawn Cemetery."

Istre noted that Woodlawn was not the only victim of this crime — other cemeteries in Rayne and Jennings had the same thing happen.

Crowley Police chief Jimmy Broussard told KATC these plaques are worth a pretty penny.

"Each marker is about $750 for production and shipping," Broussard said. "Now when you add the labor to place it on the grave, it could be like up to $1,500 per grave marker."

He said, however, that the buck doesn't stop with a slab of copper.

"Not only is the price an aspect to the families but you're also desecrating their loved one's final resting place," Broussard said. "You know, it's tough enough to lose a loved one, but then to have their graves desecrated and then the graves of our veterans - men and women who have fought for our country."

Police reports show that an arrest for possession was made back in April: Michelle Lacombe, who was 45 years old at the time of the arrest. She was found with several plaques, but Broussard said they couldn't charge her for stealing without photographic evidence of some kind.

He notes that the case is considered closed for now, but local law enforcement agencies are still looking for more information. Anyone with a tip is encouraged to call local law enforcement or Acadia Parish Crime Stoppers at 789-Tips.

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