Port Police Make Arrest in Liberty Hill Plaque Case

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By Terelle Jerricks, Managing Editor

One of three commemorative bronze plaques stolen from the Liberty Hill Monument in San Pedro this past Dec. 10 have been recovered at a South Bay metal salvage company and a person has been arrested in connection with the theft, Port Police Chief Thomas Gazsi announced Feb 28.

Alexa Chavez, 35, a transient in the San Pedro Harbor area, was arrested without incident in mid-February for receiving stolen property.  The remaining two plaques and at least two other suspects remain at large as port detectives continue their investigation. Chavez is not believed to have been involved in the original theft.

Random Lengths News’ late-January reporting the theft of the plaques —  commemorations of a labor strike, progressive icon Upton Sinclair’s 1923 public reading of the Bill of Rights, and benefactors of the Liberty Hill monument — noted that port police had recovered surveillance video of the theft. The investigation is relying heavily on that video.

In December of this past year, three historic plaques had been stolen. The port police had recovered surveillance video of the Dec. 10 theft and detectives were following up on a number of leads in the case. The video has not been made public as it is still part of the ongoing investigation.

The theft was first noticed around Christmas by a longtime reader of Random Lengths as he rode his bike past the south facing side of the Port of Los Angeles Boys and Girls Club.

Port police notified area salvage yards to be on the lookout for the historic bronze plaques.  Although valued at $1,500 each, they might only be worth $100 in scrap metal if recycled. Detectives continue to ask for the public to be on the lookout for these items or other leads in this case. Port police can be reached at 310-732-3520 or tips can be emailed to this newspaper.