VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - After being alerted the cross of a fallen officer was stolen, WAVY.com uncovered this was not an isolated incident, and many other memorial crosses are missing from their roadside locations.
Virginia Beach police officer Rodney Pocceschi was killed during a shootout in 2003 on Dam Neck Road near London Bridge Road. Pocceschi's cross was stolen recently and his family and friends are devastated.
"Just to desecrate something like this in general... it's pretty tough. Someone lost their life out here, a good dude. A good guy lost his life [on that spot]," police officer Kevin Pappas said.
A viewer contacted WAVY.com Tuesday saying there are many other memorial crosses missing in the Oceana area of Virginia Beach.
In addition to Pocceschi's, officer Victor Decker's cross is missing as well. Decker was killed while off-duty in 2010.
"I'd almost rather it be a prank if its somebody with a motive that hurts worse," Pappas said.
Decker's widow, Dawn Decker, said she did not know about the theft until WAVY.com contacted her. She said she now plans to file a police report.
A memorial for a civilian near Oceana is also missing its cross.
In Virginia Beach, anyone can put up a roadside memorial as long as it is not a danger to others. Even though it is on public property, stealing these memorials is a crime.
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