Remembrance Day sullied by vandals

Nov. 14, 2012 at 10:04 AM
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TORONTO, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Three days after Remembrance Day, Toronto police said Wednesday they were investigating the desecration of a war memorial and theft of veterans' medals.

The first incident happened Saturday, when thieves broke into an east-end home and stole medals from the owner's father and grandfather who had served in both World Wars, police Staff Sgt. Jim Gibson told the Toronto Star.

"The timing was atrocious," he said. "It's never a good time for break and enter, but right over Remembrance Day weekend, to have the medals stolen, very bad."

In the city's west end, police were treating spray-paint graffiti on a war memorial as a hate crime.

Hours after Sunday's 11 a.m. service, someone sprayed "Canada Will Burn -- Praise Allah" on the ground base of the Victory Peace memorial, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

City crews used caustic chemicals to scrub the message away, but a large stain remains in the stone.

Police said because the message targeted an identifiable group -- veterans – it was being treated as a hate crime.

Also Sunday, 57-year-old Gerry Samson and his wife were admiring a display of small Canadian flags stuck into the ground outside a hospital wing for veterans.

He told the Toronto Sun he saw a man in jogging gear "gleefully kicking them down." When Samson yelled for him to stop, the man flipped him a middle finger and ran off.

Samson said he snapped pictures of the man and posted one to the website.

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