A monument in the Foothills was recently targeted by thieves.

Three brass plaques have been taken from the Little Chicago/Royalties monument north of Longview.

Damage to the stone base suggests they were pried off.

Museum of the Highwood curator Irene Kerr says the RCMP has been notified, but for now, the damage is done.

little chicago plaque beforeThe south side of the monument as seen before the plaques were taken. (Photo courtesy of Irene Kerr.)

The monument commemorates a former oil boomtown founded in 1936.

When the area's oil dried up, the town eventually shrank to nothing as families and workers moved elsewhere.

Kerr says the monument came about after former residents formed a committee.

"One year, back in 2003, they decided to build a monument, because there was nothing there. They'd take their kids there and say 'this is where I grew up,' but they couldn't see anything except trees and fields. They raise some funds, more than $30,000 to build this."

It was unveiled in 2004, and a few years later, Kerr and the Highwood got involved.

"I got a call from one of the committee members and they were concerned. They were all elderly and were worried about what would happen to the monument after they'd gone. We met for lunch and we heard their incredible story and we agreed we would take care of it and keep an eye on it for them. We were so blown away by their stories that we created an exhibit, a video, and an online exhibit to preserve their story."

Since then, museum staff and a few volunteers have been looking after the monument, replacing older tattered flags, emptying garbage cans, and pulling weeds.

Because of that, Kerr found the theft particularly hurtful.

She's looking to replace the plaques, one way or another.

"We have the archives, all the information, and photos, so we absolutely will be repairing it and replacing the panels. Definitely not with a metal material."

Similar accounts of stolen plaques have been reported in Calgary in the last few weeks.