Police in Washingtonville, New York, are searching for vandals who tore down the flagpole at a 9/11 memorial built in honor of five local firefighters who died in the World Trade Center collapse.

The village woke up to the desecrated monument on Wednesday. Police Chief Brian Zaccaro told the local paper that the culprits must have used a tool to cut through the flagpole’s metallic frame. The vandals also wrote a message on the remaining base –  Zaccaro, however, refused to disclose it.

The destroy everything & hate everyone culture has struck again last night as the Washingtonville NY Orange County 9/11 Memorial park was vandalized & AMERICAN FLAG CUT DOWN. These individuals obviously don’t know what sacrificing everything to save a fellow human being really is

Police suspect that the same vandals recently broke the sign for the nearby St. Mary’s Parish Center.

The 9/11 monument includes a semicircle of black granite plaques, bearing the names of New York City firefighters, who died in the terrorist attack. Each plaque features a stone replica of a firefighter’s helmet.

“There’s always someone sitting on those benches, from morning until night,” Washingtonville Mayor Joseph Bucco said of the memorial. He added that the park where the memorial is located has no surveillance cameras. On Facebook, Bucco announced “a reward in excess of $3,000” for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators.

The vandalism of statues and memorials is on the rise in the US, initially starting as a disorganized effort to take down monuments perceived to have links to racism. Recently, though, an increasing number of other statues have been defaced, including one of an elk set on fire in Portland, Oregon, with no clear political motivation behind the act.

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