DUNDALK, Md. (WJZ)– A long neglected landmark in Dundalk is getting spruced up for the Star-Spangled Banner celebration.

When closer attention was paid to Battle Acre Park, a set of historic gates were found to be stolen. Now Mike Schuh reports on a well-known local man who will replace them.

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The gates may not look like much, but for a 100 years they hung on the border of the Battle Acre Park in Dundalk.

That is until June when they were stolen.

Police looked at surveillance videos at local scrap yards and arrested 34-year-old George Elias Sotirakis, who lived less than a mile away.

George Elias Sotirakis

While this park is being spruced up and renovated for the 200th anniversary of the end of the War of 1812. But the long gone gates, valued at $10,000, seem like a beauty queen with a missing tooth.

Enter Ed Hale.

“This is my neighborhood. This is where the British literally marched to get to Baltimore,” Hale said.

Born poor in Highlandtown and grew up in Dundalk, he is a union worker, truck driver, the owner of a bank and now retired.

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“There are some really fine people here,” Hale said.

Local leaders approached him for help.

“I’m a local guy, and why not do it? Who else is going to do it?” Hale said.

The new gates are being made in Dundalk.

Word has gotten around and complete strangers are coming up to thank Hale.

In short, Hale is still one of them.

“Whoever these clowns are who stole it, I hope they get whacked,” Hale said.

Sotirakis was charged with theft from $10,000 to under $100,000 and released on $50,000 bail.

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