May 28, 2014

Scrap metal thieves stole a trailer and hundreds of metal flagpoles from the Carroll American Legion just before Memorial Day - a holiday in which the poles are placed with American flags at the city cemetery - and after a failed attempt to sell the poles, the thieves allegedly returned and stole another trailer that contained the remainder of the Legion's poles.

Two Carroll area salvage yards refused to buy the roughly 550 flagpoles, which have since been recovered, said Wally Rose, a Legion member, but no one has been arrested for the crimes.

Police officials who are investigating the incident declined to comment for this article.

"I think they are the lowest of the low," Rose said of the thieves. "All they're thinking about is what they can get out of it. They have no respect for the veterans or what Memorial Day is all about."

Memorial Day is a national holiday on the last Monday of May and honors men and women who died while serving in the military. Many people decorate the graves of veterans for the holiday, and in Carroll, Legion members line the roads of the Carroll Cemetery with flags.

Rose went to the Legion building at 1124 Heires Ave. on the west side of Carroll early Monday morning to begin setting up for the holiday and discovered that one of the Legion's two trailers that contained the poles had been stolen.

"Initially we thought maybe somebody pulled one of the trailers out to the cemetery already and that it wasn't a problem," Rose said. "We got out to the cemetery with the other trailer, and we went around and checked and there was no trailer."

The Legion reported stolen the trailer and about 300 flagpoles. Legion members used the remaining poles to continue their tradition of decorating the cemetery, but later that night the thieves allegedly returned to the Legion hall and stole the rest.

The thieves returned the first trailer they stole, but there were no poles inside. The total value of the poles was estimated at about $16,500.

Rose and Legion member Lynn Vogel told the Daily Times Herald that the first set of stolen flagpoles had been recovered at Pollock Salvage in Vail. Pollock employees declined to comment for this article.

The second trailer and poles were found at Quandt Automotive Salvage on the west edge of Carroll Tuesday morning, employees there confirmed.

The flags and flagpoles used to decorate the cemetery are donated by family members of veterans. The Legion has built its collection of flags and flagpoles over the past 30 years, Legion Commander Lloyd Drees said.