HARTFORD– State Representative Christopher Davis placed his support behind a bill which increases the penalties for the damage or theft of veterans’ memorials. On Thursday, May 3rd, the bill passed unanimously in the House.
Rep. Davis co-sponsored the bill, S.B. 198 An Act Concerning Desecration of War or Veterans’ Memorials, and supported it throughout the legislative process in effort to combat the recent incidents throughout the state where monuments have been vandalized or stolen to presumably be sold as scrap metal.
Currently, criminal penalties for vandalism or theft are tied to the monetary value of the monument.Davisworked in a bi-partisan manner to increase penalties across the board regardless of the cost of the monument to better reflect the true value of such a memorial.
“These war memorials are worth a lot more to us than the cost of the raw materials,”Davissaid. “I think the bill properly reflects the fact that these are symbols of the sacrifices that those before us made for our country.”
Under the Legislation, a person found guilty of intentionally defacing, mutilating or destroying a memorial or monument will be faced with a class D felony and shall be subject to a $5,000 fine.
In an effort to diminish the illegal scrap metal market, the bill also declares that a person who is caught knowingly possessing, purchasing or selling a stolen war or veterans’ memorial will also be charged with the same class D felony and a $5,000 fine.
“I applaud the legislature in sending a strong message to would-be vandals. These memorials mean a lot to us, they mean a lot to my community and communities acrossConnecticut,”Davisadded.
The bill has already been approved by the Senate and now awaits the Governor’s signature before becoming law.