Arrest In Monument Thefts Gives People Closure

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If you didn't know what this monument in Shiatown West Park commemorates, it might be hard to tell now.
It's bronze identifying plaque was stolen, a piece of history Shiawassee Township will never get back.

"It's an eyeopener," said Anthony Karhoff, the township supervisor. "It makes us as a community look at each other and look at our area and be more aware of our surroundings."

Over the past year historical markers, headstones and military plaques were taken from multiple sites in Shiawassee County.

"Totally stripping off any names or any marks identifying where they actually came from," said Detective Sargent Robert Herrick with the county sheriff's office.

The suspect then sold the parts at local scrapyards. Recovered pieces helped lead police to 49-year-old Tobe Lee Holifield.

"We located the suspect that was selling a large quantity of these brass and cut up items, so through the course of the investigation we found out who we was fairly quickly," added Herrick.

Over 40 headstones and monument markers were taken in Shiawassee county. Police estimate the value of those items to be around $20,000. But for some people it's a loss that cannot be measured in dollars

"There's no words that can explain how much these are worth," said Karhoff, referring to both the historical and personal value.

Even though the markers and plaques are gone now, Karhoff hopes it won't be for much longer

"This is a part of our community, it's a part of the state of Michigan's history and we want to see these back in place," he added.

Karhoff is helping to plan a fundraiser to help families replace headstones and veteran markers.

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