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Old Colony Memorial

A bounty placed on vandal's head

By Rich Harbert MPG Newspapers

PLYMOUTH (Aug. 2)- Dick Quintal has trouble finding words for his outrage, but if he ever finds the vandal who defaced his memorial to the victims of Sept. 11, money will do the talking.

Quintal, a local selectman and owner of Quintal Bros. Fruit and Produce, has offered a $2,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the vandal who struck his North Plymouth store earlier this week.

The elaborate memorial, which pays tribute to victims of terrorist attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, was damaged overnight Monday when someone knocked the head off a statue honoring fallen police officers.

"I can't believe someone would do that. I'm just appalled," said Quintal, who has been putting the memorial together on the lawn in front of his South Spooner Street store for the last two years.

Well-known about town for his patriotic spirit, Quintal, like many, was strongly affected by the terrorist attacks - he later lost a godson fighting in Afghanistan - and felt moved to honor its victims.

After the initial attacks, Quintal quietly presented local police and firefighters with so-called Flags of Heroes - American flags bearing the names of all of the fallen emergency personnel from 9/11. The flags are on display at each of the town's seven fire stations.

The memorial outside the store in North Plymouth took shape more gradually and began when Quintal spotted statues of a firefighter and a police officer while visiting relatives in Tennessee.

Quintal hauled the statues home and made them the centerpiece of a memorial on the store's front lawn.

The memorial features engraved stones that honor Sept. 11 victims of the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Washington and passengers of the hijacked airliner who died in Shanksville, Pa.

Another stone pays tribute to terrorism victims in general and a fifth honors the firefighters, police officers and other emergency personnel who died that day.

The memorial features a faux flame and was about to be completed with the addition of red, white and blue lighting that will enable the American flag to fly above night and day.

Quintal said customers regularly visit the memorial and frequently stop him around town to say thanks. The same people are now commiserating with him.

Quintal said he already has relatives in Tennessee looking for a replacement for the damaged statue. He is also working on a surveillance system that will keep an eye on the display around the clock so that someone is held accountable if the memorial is ever defaced again. The system will be vandal-proof and preserved on disk if needed as evidence.

The $2,000 reward is many times more than the cost of the statue itself, but still just a fraction of the overall cost of the memorial and worth the price if it catches the vandal, he said.

"I'm really upset about it, but I guess we need people like that in society to see the good people," Quintal said.