Thousands of handmade wreaths, destined for a ceremony honoring fallen soldiers at Beechwood Cemetery in Ottawa, have been stolen.
6,024 wreaths were to be placed on veterans’ headstones this coming Sunday. About 3,000 people were taken from a rural area just outside Maxville, Ontario. last weekend.
“We come back early on Sunday morning and out of 5,000 wrapped crowns, 3,000 crowns are missing. Someone came and took a whole load,” says Bob Tessier who, with his father and others, makes wreaths from wild vines.
“We’ve been wrapping wreaths for almost two weeks,” he says, “A completely upset, distracted, shocked moment, to even imagine someone would do this.”
“Heartbreaking, it was heartbreaking; no idea how much work and love goes into all of us,” says Tessier’s father, Bob Tessier Sr. “It’s for fallen soldiers; it is not just a Christmas decoration.
The wreaths are unique, made from interwoven wild vine.
An example of a finished wreath, destined for the National Military Cemetery in Ottawa. About 3,000 wreaths missing their final decorations were stolen last weekend from a rural property in Maxville, Ontario. (Dylan Dyson/CTV News Ottawa)
Those who were caught are missing their final decorations.
“They are very distinct in the way they are made. They are very different from other vine wreaths. If you see them, please notify the OPP,” says Cyndi Mills, president of Wreaths Across Canada, the organization that commissioned the wreaths.
“If you took our crowns, we want them back. Find out how – take them back to the farm, drop them in a park and call Crime Stoppers – we just want them back.
Mills says the stolen wreaths are worth around $25,000 and a report has been filed with the Ontario Provincial Police.
The hope is to collect the crowns, but the plan now is to do as many as possible before the weekend, with a target of 4,000, Tessier says.
As to who took them, Tessier said, “May God be your judge.” It’s not my place. I have no words for them.
To contact Wreaths Across Canada, visit http://wrac.ca