HACKENSACK, NJ -- The continuing saga of the USS Ling, a World War II-era submarine later converted to a naval museum whose future is in question, took a dark turn on Tuesday with the Hackensack Police Department investigating an apparent robbery aboard the vessel. According to police, vandals took four bronze plaques dedicated to sailors lost during the second world war from the Ling. The plaques have a value of $10,000 according to police.
"The Hackensack Police Department’s Detective Bureau is investigating this disgraceful incident further, with hopes to locate and prosecute those responsible," said Hackensack Police Captain Brian Corcoran.
Officers responded to the Ling after receiving a call on Monday from a museum caretaker that there had been a robbery. The officers determined that the perpetrator "opened numerous hatches throughout the submarine, causing the entire interior of the submarine to flood with river water."
Following active use by the US Navy in WW2, the Ling was decommissioned and in 1973 became the centerpiece of the New Jersey Naval Museum. It remained an attraction for decades, however the vessel has since fallen into disrepair. More recently, a new development slated for the property formerly occupied by the Bergen Record newspaper that includes the site of the museum is moving forward. The Borg family, former owners of the Record and current owners of the site, have given the museum notice that it must relocate soon.
The condition of the Ling and the difficulty of moving the submarine have complicated the issue. Police said the vandalism has further damaged the Ling to an unspecified amount.
A nonprofit group has started a campaign to raise money to move the Ling to a new home, however at press time only approximately $20,000 of the $100,000 needed had been raised.