Town of Hanna employee Gary Carlson almost ran over a dark object in the grass as he was mowing the right-of-way near the electrical substation near Hanna junction. When he dismounted from his machine, he realized he had found the bronze plaque honoring Hanna’s World War I veterans that had been stolen from the monument in front of the old elementary school. Carlson immediately called his boss, Public Works Director Larry Korkow, and told him, “I found your sign.”
The theft of the plaque, which had been reported in March 2015, had been the subject of a major investigation by the Hanna Marshal’s Office. Both Public Works Director Korkow and Town Marshall Jeff Neimark feel that “the heat” generated by the investigation may have been instrumental in persuading the thieves to return the brass tablet. Korkow was “thankful somebody had second thoughts” and returned the plaque to Hanna. He thought it likely that “somebody brought it back here and dumped it with the intention of us finding it.” It was estimated that the plaque had been lying in the grass for about two weeks.
Marshal Neimark said, “Someone had seconds thoughts about keeping the plaque or wanting to melt it down for the value of the bronze metal. The Hanna Marshals Office had worked tirelessly interviewing and investigating this matter to find out who had taken the memorial plaque. I was working with a detective from Ogden, Utah, who specializes in metal thefts. We had been getting the word out, along with pictures of the memorial plaque, to metal recycling centers, salvage yards and other entities. Part of our strategy was to make sure this plaque was as “hot” as possible, meaning that if anyone tried to sell the plaque or cut it down to sell, that it would be flagged and law enforcement would be contacted. I believe that the person who had taken the plaque knew that the citizens of Hanna, citizens from other communities, and law enforcement would not this rest until the plaque was found. This case is still under investigation on who had taken the memorial plaque.”
Public Works Crew operator Carlson shyly shrugged off any praise for finding the missing plaque and said, “I’m just glad I found it.” He was not sure what he will do with the $500 reward that had been pledged by the cemetery board for the return of the inscribed brass tablet. Carbon County School District #2 had promised a gift of $2500 toward the replacement of the memorial plate and will still give this amount to the Town of Hanna for landscaping and upkeep of the planned town park that will be built after the old elementary school is razed.
Many thanks are extended to CCSD #2 and the numerous people who were willing to donate toward the replacement of the plaque, which would have cost $5600. The Town of Hanna, the Cemetery Board, the Marshal’s Office and the citizens of Hanna are delighted that the invaluable historic commemorative plate has been returned.
And thanks to somebody who returned the plaque to where it could be found…………