Reward offered to catch thief who stole 11 bronze Woodland Hills sidewalk plaques

As nearly a dozen bronze sidewalk plaques honoring teachers have been stolen in Woodland Hills, local leaders on Thursday announced a $25 thousand reward to catch the thief who stole them.

Over the month of June, 11 Walk of Hearts plaques were ripped out of their place along the sidewalk on Victory Boulevard. The plaques honor teachers in recognition of their dedication and the impact they have on their students.

Los Angeles City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield initiated the reward for information leading to the identification, apprehension and conviction of the person or persons responsible for stealing the plaques out of the ground.   

“What happened here is someone thought that it was okay to come by and rip these plaques for a couple hundred dollars worth of scrap metal,” Blumenfield said. “They are causing tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage, financially, and an infinite amount more damage to us spiritually here in the West San Fernando Valley.”

Walk of Hearts bronze plaques honor local teachers. In the month of June, 11 were stolen from the ground. 

LAPD Captain Rudy Lopez said he has called for extra patrols and more surveillance cameras in the area, to prevent any more thefts.

“It was initially seven reported stolen and the suspect returned numerous times in the middle of the night with chisel and mask, screwdriver in hand to deface and remove these plaques,” Lopez said. 

Crimes like this to public property are becoming more commonplace, with both Lopez and Blumenfield addressing the issue. 

“This is a statewide issue. Precious metals are being stolen in the form of wires and metals and being dumped for very little money at recycling centers, so we are aware of it,” Lopez said. Recycling centers have been notified about the plaques he said.

The reward flyer showed grainy images of the suspect, captured at the time of the crimes and shows him wearing a beanie, black hoodie with unknown designs on the front and back and carrying a large light brown bag.

“I wish there were some one-off random thing. We’re hearing abut this all across the city, where people are stealing copper wire, costing the public tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage each time they do that and making our streets dark. Plaques out of cemeteries, stealing fire hydrants, public infrastructures being attacked. And this is a sad, sad example,” Blumenfield said.