A plaque dedicated to the memory of a Canadian war hero has been stolen from a cenotaph in Chilliwack, B.C.

The theft has dealt a blow to the respect shown to veterans who dedicated their lives to the security of the country, Jim Harris of the CFB Chilliwack Memorial Society told CTV News.

"Whoever took it obviously didn't care," said Harris. "And that hurts. Because the sacrifice that these veterans have made should be remembered and revered, not desecrated."

Harris said he thinks the thieves pulled the plaque from its cement plinth and probably want to sell it cheaply for scrap metal.

"That is a terrible shame because it will cost us $6,000 to replace, and our society doesn't have that kind of money," said Harris.

The plaque is dedicated to Lieutenant-Colonel Coulson Norman Mitchell, a First World War sapper whose bravery under fire won him the Victoria Cross.

On October 8, 1918, Mitchell led an engineer party under enemy fire to remove explosives from under the bridge across the Escaut Canal in France.

Chilliwack RCMP say they've seen more thefts recently as prices for metals rise.

"We have been seeing an increase in metal thefts, copper, aluminum, metal, brass," said Cpl. Lea-Anne Dunlop.

"It's a reminder to keep those things and make sure those items are removed or properly secured so they don't fall victim to this as well."

The CFB Chilliwack Historical Society is still reeling from the theft of several historical guns from a cabinet about a year ago.

"We've had a lot of very bad luck in the past year," said Harris.

Harris is hoping that when the thief or scrap metal dealers realize what it is that they've stolen, they'll have a change of heart.

"We just want it back -- no questions asked," he said.