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Altamont's soldier statue recovered

Investigation continues, no charges filed yet

The ubiquitous soldier statue outside Altamont's Home Front Cafe will soon be making its return, after it disappeared in the night over a month ago.

It's like an old soldier coming back from a battle, said Cindy Pollard, who owns and operates the cafe with her husband, Jack. "We'll sort of have a homecoming for him outside and we'll tie a big yellow ribbon around him."

The statue was recovered on Monday morning from an area off of Krumkill Road, on the border between the Town of Bethlehem and City of Albany, according to Altamont police. The base of the statue was broken, but the rest of the soldier was intact.

Altamont Police Chief Anthony Salerno credited the recovery to "strong community policing" and an article appearing in The Spotlight alerting the populace to the investigation, which in turn resulted in several leads.

"We were given individuals names who people felt may have had some knowledge of what happened," he said.

No charges have been filed, but an investigation is continuing, Salerno said. Police have several suspects who are in their late teens and twenties. Police declined to release any names, and Salerno said the theft is believed to have been a prank.

The 300-lb statue was taken overnight on Saturday, Aug. 21, from the Home Front Cafe on Main Street. The Altamont Fair was running just down the street from the cafe.

The Home Front Cafe is a repository for 1940s memorabilia, including many artifacts from World War II. In addition to the statue, the restaurant also has a rare tank and a half-track vehicle positioned outside.

Pollard said despite damage to the base and some minor nicks the statue is in good shape, and when it is reinstalled it will be mounted so it can't be carried away again.

She said not much thought has been given as to whether to press charges should the culprits be apprehended.

"If they were young men, I'd like to see them put some community service into the veterans cemetery or the VA hospital, and see what this soldier stood for," she said.""

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