Vandals steal memorial plaques from White Rock landmark, but why??

DALLAS -- A landmark called the Celebration Tree Grove at White Rock Park in Dallas has been vandalized.

"People donate money to purchase the plaques that you see behind me on the Grove," said Mike Schmitt, standing in front of the stone structure. "To honor, celebrate, or remember someone.  A loved one, it could be a pet.  The money that is donated towards those plaques goes to planting trees at the lake."

Schmitt, chairman of the Celebration Tree Grove, a project of preservation group For The Love of the Lake, says the Grove had close to 300 plaques this time last week.  But early this week, 33 were stolen, apparently pried or scraped off the monument.

The question is, why?

"The only thing we can figure, there's two possible reasons," Schmitt told NewsFix.  "One is they wanted to sell the plaques as scrap metal.  But if they find someone to buy them, they would be worth less than $50.  We have considered that it was just malicious vandalism."

Hey, White Rock's been no stranger to random crimes over the years, but this one's just weird.  And costly!

Schmitt estimates it'll cost about $4,000 to replace the stolen plaques, money that would have gone toward preservation efforts.  He also has a message for whoever stole them.

"Just bring the plaques back," he said. "They're not gonna do you any good."

In the meantime, the Celebration Tree Grove will continue to honor, remember, and celebrate the names it still can.