Plaque honouring fallen police officer and boy stolen in Cambridge

Waterloo regional police are investigating a series of recent memorial plaque thefts in Cambridge. (Carmen Groleau/CBC - image credit)

A memorial plaque in Cambridge honouring Const. David Nicholson and Mark Gage has been stolen from it's location at the Parkhill Dam.

Nicholson was the first officer with the Waterloo Regional Police Service to die in the line of duty back in 1998.

He was part of a rescue mission for 12-year-old Gage after the boy went missing while swimming with some friends in the Grand River.

"We were notified by a member of the community about the plaque as well as some other memorial plaques stolen throughout Cambridge," Cherri Greeno, director of public affairs with the police service, told CBC News.

"We aren't quite sure yet what the motive is exactly, as it could be that they're trying to sell it. It could be a very disrespectful prank that someone is carrying out, but the motive behind that is still part of the investigation."

It's believed Nicholson found the young boy but was sucked and pinned into a sluiceway, or gate. Due to the strong force of the river, his lifeline snapped after more than 50 first responders and bystanders tried to pull him to safety.

Police say the search and rescue operation went tragically wrong and both Nicholson and the young boy drowned.

Greeno says the theft of the plaque is very concerning.

"We do share the community sentiment that this is deeply upsetting," she said. "Also deeply disrespectful to the family, to the community and to members of our service who still remember. Many are still affected by the tragedy that unfolded on that day."

Anyone with information about the plaque is asked to contact police or Crime Stoppers.