Authorities: 3 arrested for vandalism of war memorial

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CEDAR SPRINGS, Mich. (WOOD) — Three men have been arrested for stealing items from a memorial to a fallen soldier and other larcenies in Cedar Springs, Kent County authorities say.

The Kent County Sheriff’s Department says the stolen pieces of the bronze memorial to Michigan National Guard Spc. Timothy Brown have been recovered and are intact.

After Brown, 23, was killed while serving in Iraq in November 2005, community members raised money to build a memorial. A replica rifle, dog tags and a helmet were stolen from that memorial, with only a pair of boots left behind at the city’s Memorial Park.

Shortly after learning of the arrests, Brown’s parents told 24 Hour News 8 they are elated that the items will be returned.

“Amazed that it happened so quickly,” Brown’s mother, Cindy Brown, said. “I thought we would have to wait for months.”

“Or if anything was found at all,” the soldier’s father, also named Tim Brown, added.

The family said the next step is reassembling the memorial and that they would work with the city to make that happen.

The memorial to Spc. Timothy Brown in Cedar Springs before (right) and after (left) it was vandalized. (Oct. 24, 2016)

Authorities say the suspects are also responsible for vandalizing the concession stand at Cedar Springs’ Skinner Field late last week and for stealing from cars around town. Items from the concession stand have also been returned.

Media coverage prompted tips that led to the arrests, 24 Hour News 8 was told. Authorities say they found the stolen items when they searched a property in the 100 block of E. Muskegon Street, only about a third of a mile from where the thefts happened. Two Cedar Springs men, ages 17 and 20, were arrested there. They were then led to a third suspect — a 27-year-old Cedar Springs man — at Red Flannel Acres apartments on Oak Street.

Their names were not released Thursday.

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