Vandals steal plaques from White Rock Lake memorial

A case of vandalism at White Rock Lake has created shock and outrage.

Families have donated money for a serious of stone structures bearing bronze plaques at the Celebration Tree Grove to honor their loved ones. But someone stole nearly three dozen plaques sometime between last Thursday and Monday.

The purchases of the plaques help raise money. But to the people who buy them, the memories they represent are priceless.

The Celebration Tree Grove is in the northeast section of White Rock Lake. People go there to honor, remember and celebrate the lives of those they lost.

Mike Schmidt is the chairman of the Tree Grove. He says it's disturbing to see nearly three dozen plaques stripped away from the stones. One friend’s missing plaque hit home.

“Her granddaughter passed away at the age of 3 years old, and she purchased a plaque here for her granddaughter,” Schmidt said. “And I asked her to come and she said, ‘I can't do it. I just can't do it. I can't come out here and face this.’"

Several people who passed by the structure were clearly disturbed and disgusted. Each plaque is the result of a donation of $1,000 to $15,000. The money is also used to plant trees around the monument.

“It's a beautiful spot to sit at,” Jim Moore said. “And then to come here and see it vandalized, it takes away from enjoying it."

“I just don't understand how someone would even think of doing something like this,” another passerby said. “It's got to be a very evil person."