ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS — Three bronze plaques at the Monmouth County 9/11 Memorial were stolen, with a $5,000 reward being offered for information leading to the arrests of who did it, according to police.

Atlantic Highlands Police said the theft of the plaques at the memorial at Mount Mitchill Scenic Overlook happened Wednesday or Thursday. Together with a fourth plaque, they line a walkway and depict the timeline of the events of September 11, 2001.

Captain Thomas Stone of the Atlantic Highlands police said it's the first instance of vandalism at the memorial.

"That is a very solemn area and it's well respected. This was really a shock to us that this occurred in the first place whether it was done for vandalsm  purposes or theft people spent money for those. It's really disheartening," Stone told New Jersey 101.5.

Stone would not disclose details of the investigation including whether or not there are security cameras in place at the memorial.

The county-owned memorial on Sandy Hook Bay has a view of the New York skyline and honors the 147 residents of Monmouth County who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a plane that crashed in western Pennsylvania.

Monmouth County Park Systems Assistant Director Andrew J. Spears said rangers are working closely with Atlantic Highlands police on investigating the theft

"Replacement plaques will be ordered and will be reset in place in the coming weeks," Spears said.

Plaque at the Monmouth County 9/11 Memorial (Bud McCormick)

A stone base carved with the names, ages, and hometowns of those who died, and an eagle sculpture with a beam from one of the fallen towers make up the rest of the memorial.

Monmouth County Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrests of criminals and fugitives involved with the theft.

Atlantic Highlands Police said anyone with information about the theft can call 732-291-1212, or Monmouth County Crime Stoppers at 800-671-4400.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ.

Monmouth County 9/11 Memorial (Bud McCormick)

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