The Atascadero Police Department’s Investigations Unit has been conducting follow up investigation into vandalism hit and run and damage to Faces of Freedom Veterans Memorial. Video surveillance has been recovered from the Faces of Freedom Veterans Memorial. The suspect vehicle description has been updated to a 1988 to 1997 Chevrolet Crew Cab pickup with complete black lumber rack, maroon in color, toolbox in the bed, with chrome body trim along the base of the both sides of the vehicle, to include around the wheel wells. The rear windows of the pickup are dark tinted. The tailgate of the truck has a chrome strip with the word Chevrolet in black across it.
On New Year’s Day, Atascadero Police officers were dispatched to the Faces of Freedom Veterans Memorial in Atascadero after receiving reports of vehicular vandalism being inflicted at the Memorial, with witnesses describing a dark red Chevrolet pickup truck which drove through the Memorial grounds, damaging benches and lighting fixtures. The initial estimate of the damage amounts to approximately $15,000.00.
City officials including Mayor Tom O’Malley state that they are dismayed by the occurrence, and are asking for the public’s assistance in identifying the person or persons responsible for the incident. Anyone who might have information that could assist the Police Department in their investigation is asked to contact Sgt. Jason Carr at (805) 470-3228 as quickly as possible.
In addition, Mayor O’Malley says that he and the rest of the City Council strongly support the Veterans Memorial Foundation and stand ready to assist them in raising the funds that will be needed to make immediate repairs to the memorial. “The one-of-a-kind Faces of Freedom Veterans Memorial located here in Atascadero honors our local military service men and women and signifies that we will be forever proud of our veterans.
The memorial has become an honored site and beautiful location for people to stop by and pay their respects. To have it damaged in this manner is truly disheartening, but we look forward to our community-minded citizens pulling together once again in order to have the Memorial repaired and restored as a place of honor and recognition of our local veterans”.
Congresswoman Lois Capps stated, “I am appalled by the damage to our well respected monument honoring the brave men and women who fought on behalf of our country. I share in the community disappointment over the damage but am also encouraged by the resilient spirit that is already apparent as we work together to repair the damage to this beloved monument”. Colonel Bill Hatch, President of the Atascadero Veterans Memorial Foundation, concurs and adds, “Our foundation and the community are committed to the restoration of the “Faces of Freedom” memorial to its original condition. We worked tirelessly to build a world class memorial that honors all of our nation’s military heroes, especially those who call San Luis Obispo County home. Our commitment to our veterans remains undeterred”.
Donations for the Faces of Freedom repairs can be sent to the Atascadero Veterans Memorial Foundation at P.O. Box 1466, Atascadero, CA 93423