$44K worth of metal plaques honoring Woodland Hill’s teachers stolen

City leaders are offering a $25,000 reward for the capture and prosecution of a suspect prying copper metal plaques honoring teachers on Woodland Hill’s Walk of Hearts out of the sidewalk and stealing them, likely to sell as scrap, officials said.  

Grainy surveillance footage captured the thief chiseling out the plaques in the cover of night and leaving 11 holes in the sidewalk along Sherman Way and Victory Boulevard.  

In total, the stolen plaques amount to approximately $44,000, according to Joe Andrews, whose nonprofit organization funds the valued community effort.  

“When a person rips these out of the sidewalk, what they’re doing is violating a teacher’s legacy,” Andrews said.  

These crimes are a part of a trend in the Southern California region of thieves stealing things like copper wire, light poles, fire hydrants and other infrastructure that costs way more to fix than it yields for criminals.  

“We ask that if you guys are aware of the suspect who’s walking off with these plaques or where he’s unloading these items, that you make the effort to contact us,” Los Angeles Police Department Cpt. Rudy Lopez said at a press conference Thursday.  

L.A. City Councilman Bob Blumenfield, who represents the Woodland Hills area encouraged residents to report the crime and collect the $25,000 reward.  

“Our public infrastructure is being attacked,” he said. “We’re here to push back. We’re here to say enough. We’re here to say we’re going to catch this person or persons because it’s not tolerable.”

Detectives told KTLA’s Rachel Menitoff that they are looking at local scrap yards, which are required to keep records of all metals sold to them, and asking those businesses to be on the lookout.