The Memorial Field plaque, which honored veterans of World War I and World War II, was returned to the Port Townsend Police Department on May 23 by an unnamed local business owner acting on behalf of a client.
The plaque was stolen from its spot outside Memorial Field during the night on May 14. The police had no leads at the time, according to a police report from Officer Ash Moore.
Then, on May 23, PTPD received a call from a local business owner.
“He was being very vague over dispatch,” Moore said. “A client of his had dropped off the plaque. He didn’t want to be named and couldn’t tell me anything about the client because of client confidentiality.”
Moore hypothesized that the client possibly worked in the metal-working field and had either received the plaque from the person who stole it, or stolen it and tried to sell it, but was unsuccessful.
The local business owner who returned the plaque said his client did not steal it, but “happened upon it,” Moore said.
“How would he stumble upon it in his day-to-day life?” Moore asked.
But unanswered questions aside, Jefferson County Parks and Recreation Director Matt Tyler was happy to see the plaque again.
“We are going to take a bit of time to reinstall it so that it is more secure,” Tyler said. “We’re hoping to have a little ceremony when it is reinstalled.”
Moore said in his time working at the Port Townsend Police Department, seeing the return of a stolen bronze plaque is unusual.
Just two weeks before the Memorial Field plaque was stolen, the Marvin G. Shields plaque on Sims Way was stolen, and has yet to be found. In 2013, around 30 bronze plaques were stolen from the Northwest Maritime Center Dock and a few months later, bronze was stolen during a burglary at Port Townsend Foundry, according to Pete Langley, owner of the Port Townsend Foundry.
“To my knowledge this is unprecedented,” Moore said. “This would be the first time something like this has been recouped.”