By Candice Ferrette Newsday
Volunteers at the Connetquot Youth Association are asking the public to help find a plaque stolen two weeks ago from a September 11 memorial near the group’s baseball field.
Stephen Smith, president of the youth association, said the group has dealt with vandalism in the past but it found it particularly disheartening to discover the theft of the plaque honoring former Connetquot Little League Baseball coach and FDNY firefighter William J. Mahoney, Jr.
Mahoney, 38, of Bohemia, was a member of Rescue 4 of Queens and died while responding to the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
“We’ve had garbage cans turned over and that sort of vandalism in the past, but this is something that’s really not right. It’s a September 11 memorial,” Smith said.
The incident occurred July 5 and was recorded on the youth association’s surveillance video. The video shows a group of about five teens, boys and girls, Smith said.
Smith said on July 6, volunteers with the youth group found four flags and the plaque gone.
The plaque cost about $200 to $300 dollars. It was about 14 by 16 inches with raised bronze lettering. The plaque was affixed to a large rock as part of the September 11 memorial, he said.
The 38-year-old youth association, at 550 Easton St. in Ronkonkoma, runs athletic programs for at least 500 families, Smith said.
“It’s a shame because we keep the complex up for the kids,” Smith said. “We looked everywhere for it [the plaque] and we couldn’t find it.”