BOSTON (CBS) – State Police are searching for vandals who extensively damaged the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Morrissey Boulevard in the city’s Dorchester neighborhood.

An American flag was cut and a Massachusetts flag was taken off the flagpole and found nearby with trash dumped on top of it, according to State Police.

A POW-MIA flag at the memorial was stolen and is missing. Bricks were thrown at the memorial leaving marks on the stone. Several shrubs and trees at the memorial were cut down.

dorchester vietnam memorial vandalism credit umb grounds 2 Police Look For Vandals Who Damaged Bostons Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Vandals desecrated the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and its grounds in Dorchester, State Police said. (Photo credit: UMB GROUNDS)

On the memorial, there are 80 names of American soldiers who died during the Vietnam War. Thomas Cunningham’s brother, Joseph, is among the fallen.

When Thomas Cunningham heard about the vandalism, he said he had to see it for himself.

He called it a gut punch.

“It’s heartbreaking,” said Cunningham, a Dorchester resident.

memorial vandalized transfer Police Look For Vandals Who Damaged Bostons Vietnam Veterans Memorial

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Dorchester. (WBZ-TV)

“I don’t understand, after so many years of it being here untouched, how this could happen,” Cunningham said.

A woman who noticed the vandalism at the memorial reported it to State Police on Thursday afternoon.

dorchester vietnam memorial vandalism credit umb grounds 3 Police Look For Vandals Who Damaged Bostons Vietnam Veterans Memorial

State Police are searching for vandals who extensively damaged the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Morrissey Boulevard in Dorchester. (Photo credit: UMB GROUNDS)

The memorial was built in 1986 to honor soldiers who gave their lives during the Vietnam War.

Joe Zinck, who looks after the memorial, said a witness told authorities that a man was seen vandalizing the memorial.

“She observed a man pulling up all the flower beds and throwing them all over the place. Then she said he had chainsaw and he started cutting the bushes,” Zinck said.

Zinck said while the memorial has seen minor vandalism in the past, he’s never seen anything this bad.

“Somebody was a very, very angry person, I’m sure, and I don’t know why he took that anger out on the memorial. This is consecrated ground,” Zinck said.

UMass Boston owns the property where the memorial stands. They say they are working to assist in the damage.

Anyone with information about the vandalism is urged to call State Police at 617-740-7710.

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