BELMONT, NC (WBTV) - A statue erected in honor of World War II soldiers was vandalized late Saturday or early Sunday morning.
The estimated 8-foot-tall bronze statue was found laying beside the concrete monument it once stood atop. The head of the soldier was also missing.
The concrete monument reads, "Erected in honor of all who served in World War II and dedicated to the lasting memory of those who gave their lives."
"That was the first thing I noticed when I got up this morning..the police were standing on my door knocking..I was dumbfounded," neighbor Debbie Goldsmith said.
Goldsmith has lived across from Belmont Middle School where the statue once stood for 30 years.
The statue was erected in the 1940s.
David Ewing says he was driving by, noticed the police and the toppled statue.
Ewing's father fought in World War II so to see this he says is more than just vandalism, it's disrespectful.
"That's very strong..it's mounted down in the granite..these brackets are bent," Ewing said as he surveyed the damage.
Folks can only speculate why someone would want to tear this statue down.
"I don't know if it was pure meanness, vandalism or something thought they could sell the metal," Ewing said.
Both Ewing and Goldsmith say someone took a treasure and they would like to see it restored and put back.
"It means a lot to the community," Goldsmith said.
Police are still investigating. It's unclear if more than one person was involved. There is a camera mounted on the side of the school, but it's unclear if it was working at the time. Belmont Police plan to release more information Monday.