Michigan –-(Ammoland.com)- Law enforcement officers are investigating damage to a memorial stone at a Michigan Department of Natural Resources Grouse Enhanced Management Site (GEMS) in southern Marquette County.
GEMS are unique ruffed grouse hunting areas across the northern Lower and Upper peninsulas that provide great opportunities for a variety of hunters, including youth, seniors, adults new to the sport and seasoned veterans.
On Sept. 9, the South Marquette County GEMS was dedicated to Bill Rollo, a DNR wildlife technician who was instrumental in creating this particular GEMS hunting area, which is located along County Road 438, south of Gwinn.
Rollo, 40, died unexpectedly Jan. 21 and a memorial stone was erected at the GEMS site, situated next to an informational kiosk. Rollo was a 16-year veteran of the DNR.
Two weeks after the dedication, between the hours of 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 23, the memorial stone was knocked off its pedestal when the base of the monument was struck, evidently by a vehicle.
The damage was discovered by DNR staff. A blue paint scrape was found on the monument and an impact mark from black plastic or rubber. The base of the monument was cracked, chipped and shifted from its original location.
The incident is being investigated by the Forsyth Township Police Department and Michigan conservation officers from the DNR.
If the incident is determined to be a criminal act, a reward fund has been established by the Ruffed Grouse Society for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator.
To pledge a contribution to the fund, contact Ron Burkert or Nicole Edwards of the Ruffed Grouse Society at (414) 262-4044 or 451 McCormick Rd., Coraopolis, PA 15108.
DNR staff repaired the monument this week.
To report information on this incident, contact Lt. Pete Wright at the DNR office in Marquette at 906-228-6561 or the Forsyth Township Police Department at 906-346-9224.
For more information on the DNR’s GEMS, visit the DNR’s webpage.
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