HARTFORD — State Rep. Themis Klarides today hailed the governor’s decision to sign into law a bill increasing the fine levied against any person found guilty of desecrating a war memorial.
Klarides and her House of Representatives colleagues in early May unanimously passed S.B. 198, An Act Concerning Desecration of War or Veterans’ Memorials. She was among lawmakers who provided support during the Veterans’ Committee hearing process earlier this year, and on May 3 the bill received bipartisan backing through the 142-0 House vote. Gov. Dannel Malloy announced his approval today.
The new law comes as thefts of valuable metals, such as copper, continue to rise. Such metals can be found on memorials, and communities such as Derby, Ansonia and Shelton have seen criminals target these hallowed spots erected as tributes to people who have served our country.
“In communities throughout the state these memorials are both valuable and poignant reminders of the sacrifices made by so many men and women over the years,” said Klarides, who represents Derby, Orange and Woodbridge. “This enhancement of the law strengthens our state’s commitment to honoring and protecting tributes to the truly awesome efforts made by those who fought for our freedoms.”
Under the law, a person is guilty of a class D felony if he or she intentionally defaces, mutilates, destroys or steals war or veterans’ memorials—or if the person owns, purchases, sells, or disposes of a memorial or monument knowing that it had been unlawfully removed from its location. A class D felony carries a maximum five-year prison term. The crimes carry a $5,000 fine.
Klarides was a co-sponsor of the bill.