MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (WTNH) — One week ago today, a man was caught on surveillance video violently swinging an axe at the door of the Greater Middletown Military Museum — breaking into a place dedicated to educating the public about saluting Connecticut veterans.
The museum is filled with precious mementoes, medals, and memorabilia. Feb. 11, Isaiah Nemecek, 22, of Middletown, broke into the museum, trashed displays, and stole priceless items.
The damage included smashed glass windows and display cases holding replicas of military weapons.
Nemecek was arrested Thursday on charges of burglary, possession of burglary tools, criminal mischief, and larceny. Police say they were able to recover the only item taken from the museum during the burglary: a plastic replica of a military pistol.
“It was absolutely terrible,” said Ron Organic, a military veteran and the person who came up with the idea for the museum. “No respect for the military at all from that person.”
The museum is taking steps to bounce back and recover from this violation.
Tuesday, at a meeting set to discuss beefed-up security measures, it was clear some of the damage has been cleaned up and repaired.
However, Organic is still disturbed by a big wooden board that covers up shattered glass at the entrance to the museum and tape plastered over parts of some of the walls through which the axe was thrust.
It may be hard to see anything positive emerge from this, but the volunteers who run the museum say there is definitely good news: repairs are starting, and more people are visiting the museum.
Although repairs could cost thousands of dollars, Middletown’s Public Works Department is helping with those.
Additionally, workers say more people who didn’t even know about the museum are now starting to visit to learn more about local heroes in uniform.
“The history is just amazing,” said Middletown resident, Jonas Smith.
Organic says the museum, which opened last year, is on a mission to keep marching forward.
“It’s important that nobody takes this history away from us. You cannot replace some of this stuff that we have in here.”– Ron Organic, U.S. military veteran/ Middletown Military Museum