SNELLVILLE, Ga. -- This weekend - the city of Snellville is set to dedicate its brand new Veterans Memorial Wall. It's a tribute more than three years in the making; but now, an overnight crime may cast a shadow on the big celebration.
There are 373 tiles on the wall -- each with the name of a soldier; a man or woman who served this country. Now, nine of those names are missing.
The city's mayor pro-tem, Tom Witts, has been pushing for this since 2011. He says overnight, someone came and took one of the boxes that contains the tiles.
The engraved tiles themselves are only worth about $20 each, but he says what's missing is worth much more than a dollar amount.
"This top row is where the missing tiles should be," said Witts. "Each tile is a veteran. These were all purchased by family members of the veterans or by the veterans themselves. There's a story behind every tile on the wall. People have gone out of their way to make sure their relative is on the wall, and we want to make sure they're there too."
He thinks it is the work of a few kids who did not realize what they were taking.
"We're hoping they just bring it back – no questions asked," he said. "Just bring them back here and we'll get them up on the wall tomorrow."
If the tiles are not returned by Thursday, they will go ahead and order more, but they won't arrive until sometime in July – which means nine families will come to this weekend's dedication, but will not be able to find their loved ones' names on the wall.
Considering the ceremony is only two days before Memorial Day, they are really making a strong plea for whoever took the tiles to simply bring them back.