A Fredericton scrapyard owner says one of the three brass plaques that went missing from the city’s cenotaph ended up at his shop.

Best Metals owner Iaan Brown says a man brought a metal plate to him on Oct. 17 with what appeared to have a torch engraved on it, similar to the one that went missing. 

“The rest of the plaque, he completely defaced,” said Brown. “He grinded all the lettering off it.”

The man received $110 for the plaque. Staff only realized a few days later where it may have come from.

Brown says the man returned three days later to offer up more metal.

“We were able to snap a side profile of him, and a photo of his car license plate,” said Brown.

Those pictures and what’s left of the plaque are now in the hands of investigators.

Word got out quickly of the three stolen from the cenotaph, and reaction has been swift.

“This is kind of the equivalent of stealing Christmas gifts from children at Christmas time,” said Daryl Alward of the Royal Canadian Legion.

Police would not release information on the investigation, other than that it remains active.

The provincial government says the plaques will be replaced.

“Our hope is that we can have them replaced before Remembrance Day,” said Bill Fraser, New Brunswick’s Minister of Tourism, Heritage and Culture.

This isn’t the first time Fredericton’s downtown cenotaph has been disturbed. The granite cross was toppled over two days before Remembrance Day in 2009.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Nick Moore.