HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ The Connecticut legislature is beefing up state laws to discourage vandals and thieves from defacing or stealing veterans’ memorials and monuments in hopes of selling the metal for scrap.

The legislation stems from a spate of theft across the state. Lawmakers said they want to send a strong message because the thefts not only hurt veterans and their families, but also communities.

The House of Representatives unanimously passed the legislation Thursday. It already passed the Senate and now moves to the governor.

Under the bill, a person faces a Class D felony for intentionally defacing, mutilating, destroying or removing any part of a memorial or monument, or for possessing or trying to sell it. The penalty is up to five years in prison, a $5,000 fine, or both.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


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