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Burlington MPP devastated after memorial for husband vandalized

WATCH ABOVE: Police are investigating after a copper plaque was stolen from the spot where off-duty OPP sergeant Greg Stobbard was killed. He was hit by a dump truck while cycling on Tremaine Road In Milton. His widow, Eleanor McMahon, says it’s a selfish and destructive act. Lama Nicolas reports.

TORONTO — A Burlington MPP is devastated after a memorial for her late husband, an OPP sergeant, was vandalized.

“Whoever did this has committed a very selfish destructive act,” said Eleanor McMahon.

“You’re trying to find a logical explanation for an act of absolute wanton destruction.”

Police say the copper plaque was pried from its mount, damaging the memorial, which sits at the spot where 44-year-old Greg Stobbart was killed in 2006.

The off-duty OPP sergeant was hit by a dump truck while riding his bike on Tremaine Road In Milton.

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“He went out that day for a ride, he left in the morning, he called to tell me he’s going to enjoy a bike ride, he just purchased a new bicycle, he was very proud of that bike,” said McMahon.

“I encouraged him, said, ‘I love you’ and wished him well and those were the last words we exchanged.”

Local and Regional Councillor Colin Best was the first to hear about the theft from an area resident who noticed the plaque was missing while walking his dog.

“I can’t understand anyone doing this, it’s like going into a cemetery and taking a tombstone,” said Best.

“Somebody just took a crowbar or something to it, opened it up and took it away.”

It’s unclear when the copper plaque was stolen, it’s believed it may have been taken to be melted down and sold.

We spoke to a metal scrap dealer who says it’s not worth much, roughly around $20 to $50, but it’s presence was priceless.

“It’s a sacred space for us and it’s a very special place for the town of Milton, for the cyclists who ride by,” said McMahon.

Since her husband’s death, McMahon has dedicated much of her time to cycling safety and started a provincial cycling advocacy organization.

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Greg’s Law was passed in 2009 and comes with stiffer penalties for drivers caught driving with a suspended license.

The Grimsby trucker who struck and killed Stobbart was spared a jail sentence even though he had more than $14,000 worth of fines for driving infractions at the time of the collision.

Just this morning, another grim reminder occurred when a 62-year-old man from Brampton was hit and killed while cycling in Caledon.

“To me it’s just a reminder of how vulnerable cyclists are, how we need to build better and more infrastructure to accommodate them,” said McMahon.

The theft comes just weeks before the 10th annual “Greg’s Ride” set for Sept. 27.

There are plans to replace the plaque before then, this time using cast iron.

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