ABINGTON (CBS) – Police are looking for some vandals who stole metal rods from a veterans’ cemetery, most likely for cash.

The thieves took at least 18 markers made of copper, bronze and brass from the graves of war heroes at Mount Vernon Cemetery.

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Cemetery superintendent John Burnett said the staff that holds the marker together with the American flag is what the grave robbers are looking to fence, not the medallions that come with them.

“What they do, they leave the medallion on the ground because they can’t turn them in because scrap metal people won’t take them because it’s a veteran marker,” Burnett said.

“It just bothers the hell out of me and all the veterans,” the town’s Director of Veteran Services Joe Colantoni told WBZ-TV.

“These guys left the town of Abington, went to fight for this country, get killed, get their remains home, this is their last remaining place and to have somebody come to do what they did is wrong, wrong, wrong.”

WBZ-TV’s David Robichaud reports

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Elaine Harte’s husband was a Korean War vet. The thieves passed on taking his marker.

“He didn’t have this particular type, he had a plastic one, so that wasn’t bothered. But it bothered me that the rest were done. I can’t understand why anyone would do something like this,” she said.

Police say there has been a surge in the thefts of metal, especially copper, in the past few years.

Most of the time, it’s people desperate to get money to buy drugs.

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Investigators are contacting local scrap metal dealers to see if the thieves have tried to sell the rods.