Reaction after veteran graves vandalized in two towns

By News Staff

Reporting by Ana Bottary

Just days before the 4th of July when the nation celebrates freedom and independence—veteran graves are vandalized in two Rhode Island towns.

“It’s a total disrespect to veterans,” says Anthony DeQuattro, president of Operation Stand Down.

A former care-taker at the Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Exeter, Kevin Maynard, plead guilty to stealing 150 granite gravestones. According to police, Maynard used them to make a floor for his shed and garage.

DeQuattro, a former veteran himself, says his is just an example of the poor treatment veterans are given.

"We fight the battle every day and all we get is a lot of bureaucracy and a lot of disrespect,” he says.

ABC6 News went to knock on Maynard’s home in Charlestown, but no one answered the door. Other community members, though, had plenty to say about the matter.

"I can't believe that anyone would do that, it's such a sacred thing and to take those home and use it for your own personal use is unforgivable,” said Kristine Mahone, an Exeter resident.

Over at St. Joseph’s Cemetery in West Warwick, another act of vandalism was discovered. Robert Haney and Michael Gilligan are facing felony charges after stealing 29 bronze markers worth nearly $23,000, as well as six vases valued at over $2,000.

"Things they have, their freedoms. When they sit down at that table every night to eat with their families, the roof over their head in this country that we live in—that was because someone paid the ultimate sacrifice for them,” explained DeQuattro.

Though DeQuattro is not happy about the crime Maynard committed, he says commends him for resigning from his job and taking responsibility for what he did.

© WLNE-TV 2015