Sept. 11 Memorial Stolen From Cape Cod Park

This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," May 1, 2007, that has been edited for clarity.

JOHN GIBSON, HOST: The "Big Crime": It is despicable for anybody to steal anything, of course, but what was just stolen from a park in Cape Cod is unforgivable. A memorial to one of the victims of 9/11 has been ripped off its roots. Who would do such a thing? And why? "Big Story" correspondent Douglas Kennedy takes a closer look at this pathetic crime. Douglas?

DOUGLAS KENNEDY, BIG STORY CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, John, this was a memorial for Neilie Casey. Neilie was absolutely one of the most tragic deaths of September 11, mostly because she was a newlywed and left behind a nine-month-old baby daughter. Her family says the memorial was all they had left of her.


KENNEDY (VOICE-OVER): Visitors to Neilie Casey's memorial at one of the best views on Cape Cod, a bluff just under the historic Nobska Point Lighthouse, with a spectacular view of the Elizabeth Islands.

KENT KANNENBERG, 9/11 VICTIM'S STEPFATHER: It looks out over Buzzard's Bay, and you'd look out on a clear day to Martha's Vineyard. The wind — you get every imaginable New England weather experience there. Fog, rain, wind, sun. It's glorious.

KENNEDY: Now, like Neilie herself, the memorial is gone, ripped from her relatives by thieves in the night. To Casey's family it's an old wound open. And once again, they are left to grieve a loss.

ANNE HEFFERNAN, 9/11 VICTIM'S MOTHER: This is just a shame, to have someone desecrate a monument that, not only to a beautiful, very good person, but a national treasure.

KENNEDY: Casey was aboard American flight 11 from Boston to Los Angeles when terrorists crashed it into the World Trade Center. She left behind her husband, her mother and the now six-year-old daughter named Riley. Her family chose the spot for her memorial because it was the place she got engaged.

KANNENBERG: Without exception, every person that we had an interaction with at that site, was so moved by it, and, you know, what I think is important about this is that it meant so much more than just a family experience. It was something that the public could get a connection to the 9/11 tragedy.

KENNEDY: Police say thieves may have wanted to sell the memorial's bronze faceplate for scrap. But Nobska Point is federal land, which makes any theft there a federal crime. But Casey's family says they just want Neilie's memorial returned.

HEFFERNAN: It means a lot to all of us. We do not have any identifiable remains of Neilie. To us this site means more than you can imagine.


KENNEDY: Neilie's mom says they will rebuild the memorial. She says this time they may have to use material that is less attractive to thieves. Local authorities, John, say they will continue to investigate this crime.

GIBSON: What could a bronze plaque be worth? I mean, did somebody steal it for scrap?

KENNEDY: Yeah, I mean, you can melt it down at this point. The police told me it's worth about $2,000, which makes it a felony. So anybody who stole this is in a lot of trouble.

GIBSON: $2,000 is a sizeable amount. You can see why somebody would want to rip it off.

KENNEDY: This woman is beloved in Cape Cod. They really love her. She brought home the tragedy of September 11.

GIBSON: Well maybe the thief didn't melt it down yet and they'll return it.

KENNEDY: Yeah maybe. Hopefully.

GIBSON: Douglas Kennedy, thank you.

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