The Edmonton Police Service has identified and charged a 45-year-old man in relation to the theft and destruction of several memorial plaques from the Griesbach community last month.
On Tuesday, July 25, 2017, it was reported that 17 memorial plaques were stolen from a green space in Griesbach. As a result of media coverage, investigators from Northwest Division were contacted the following day (July 26, 2017) by a local scrap metal dealer, after staff recognized the plaques.
On Tuesday, August 8, 2017, Romelo Joseph Woolf, 45, was arrested and charged with possession of stolen property over $5,000 and fraud under $5,000.
While it was initially reported that 17 memorial plaques were missing, investigators recovered 18 plaques in total – 15 of which were unsalvageable and the other three were damaged, although intact.
“The City of Edmonton is working alongside the Griesbach community and community stakeholders to replace the memorial plaques and repair the pedestals they were mounted on,” says Det. Eric Wilde with Northwest Division’s Criminal Investigation Section.
“We are grateful to the media for covering this story, which ultimately led us to these invaluable plaques,” says Wilde.
Woolf is expected to appear in court on Wednesday, August 16, 2017. The investigation continues.
“Griesbach Community League is extremely appreciative of the hard work by EPS to find the person behind this crime. We’d like to thank the media for getting the word out, to the owner of the scrap metal yard who brought this to police, and to citizens who provided tips that led to the arrest,” says Griesbach Community League President, Brad Tilley.
According to Tilley, the community league has been working closely with the City of Edmonton and Canada Lands Corporation to replace the missing plaques. Numerous individuals and companies have stepped forward to offer their generous support. At this point it is unclear as to whether a fundraising campaign will be required. The theft has served as a rallying cry for proud Canadians from coast to coast.
“While these monuments are in our community, Griesbach is an outdoor museum where anyone can come and learn about the brave individuals and battles that are part of our history in times of war and peace. The reaction from across the country has been touching, and has reminded us of the importance of preserving our history,” Tilley adds.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact the EPS at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone. Anonymous information can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at www.tipsubmit.com/start.htm.