YOU will get caught.
Warrnambool RSL sub-branch president John Miles delivered the blunt message for anyone else who steals the replica rifle from the war memorial statue.
Mr Miles gave the warning after meeting with a Warrnambool man who admitted to stealing the rifle early on Sunday morning when intoxicated during his buck’s party.
The man, aged in his 30s, later left the rifle on a seat at nearby History House.
He admitted the vandalism to Mr Miles on Tuesday morning and was interviewed by Warrnambool police on Tuesday night.
Mr Miles said a CCTV camera had captured the efforts of the man and another tugging at the rifle on Sunday morning and it would help to capture those involved in any further vandalism.
The rifle has been vandalised up to six times and Mr Miles said Warrnambool RSL members were heartily sick of the attacks.
The attacks showed a lack of respect for the war service of local people and members took the incidents personally, he said.
Mr Miles said he had asked the man to write a signed letter of apology and ask for it to be published in The Standard.
“He was very remorseful,” Mr Miles said of the vandal.
He said Warrnambool police would decide whether the man was to be charged over the attack.
The CCTV footage had also shown another man was involved in the attack and police were still searching for him, Mr Miles said.
The rifle was yesterday taken away for repairs by Michael Steel, from the Port Fairy stoneworks company Bamstone.
If Mr Steel is unable to fix the replica rifle, Bamstone will provide another replica to be reattached to the memorial’s soldier statue.