Bronze Plaque Stolen from Historic Church in South Los Angeles

A bronze plaque, which had withstood the test of time and historical events, has been reported missing from the Bethel A.M.E Church in South Los Angeles. Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson was alerted to the disappearance of the landmark item on Sunday. The plaque, which had endured the challenges of the Great Depression and segregation, vanished a few weeks ago, possibly stolen amidst a surge of copper wire and bronze thefts across the city.

During a nearly one-hour debate on Wednesday, the Los Angeles City Council discussed motions put forth by Councilmembers Kevin de León and Traci Park to address the issue of copper wire theft. The council members presented differing approaches to combatting crime, with some advocating for preventive measures and others emphasizing accountability.

The approved motions, passed with a 13-2 vote, will establish a task force comprising the Los Angeles Police Department and the Bureau of Street Lighting. Additionally, a rewards program will be implemented to encourage the public to provide information related to the thefts.

Councilmember Eunisses Hernandez, who voted against the motions, criticized the rewards program, stating that it fails to address the root causes of the problem. Hernandez commended Councilmember Heather Hutt’s previous motion, which proposed replacing copper wires with solar-powered lighting as a preventive measure.

Councilmember Monica Rodriguez supported the rewards program, emphasizing the need for accountability to prevent further expenses for taxpayers. Council President Paul Krekorian redirected the council’s focus to the “unscrupulous purchasers of stolen metal,” whom he identified as the true source of the problem. Krekorian and City Attorney Hydee Feldstein Soto have been targeting those who receive stolen metal since November.

Councilmember Tim McOsker expressed his disappointment over the loss of plaques at various memorials, including the American Merchant Marine Veterans Memorial. He mentioned that three individuals, Dionzay Tisby, Brittany Draper, and Deona Jackson, were arrested by the Los Angeles Port Police on suspicion of grand theft related to the plaque thefts.

Councilmember Hugo Soto-Martínez initially supported the motions but later opposed them, urging his colleagues to focus on prevention efforts rather than punitive measures. He highlighted that the thefts might be driven by individuals living in poverty who resort to desperate acts.

Councilmember Imelda Padilla disagreed with Soto-Martínez, characterizing the responsible individuals as part of a highly organized and sophisticated criminal network. Councilmember John Lee echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the need to explore all available options to address the issue.

Councilmember Kevin de León clarified that the motions aimed to prioritize public safety and address residents’ concerns. He emphasized that the thefts were already criminal acts and not an attempt to criminalize them further.

CrimeDoor
Author: CrimeDoor

1 Response

  1. If you are interested in learning more about the history of the Bethel A.M.E Church in South Los Angeles, you may find it helpful to visit their official website. They often provide information about their historical significance, community initiatives, and upcoming events. Additionally, you can explore local historical societies or archives in the area to find more resources on the church’s history and the missing bronze plaque.

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