STOCKTON (CBS13) — After repeated vandalism, a memorial statue is being taken into hiding by Stockton firefighters.

On Thursday, firefighters used heavy equipment to haul it away for safe keeping, where the common criminals who’ve turned it into their target for constant vandalism can’t find it.

“We decided we needed to come up with a plan to safeguard the memorial,” Stockton Fire Battalion Chief Jonathan Smith said. “Until we develop that plan, we decided we’ll remove it so we can safeguard it.”

The Stockton firefighter’s union took photos of their memorial’s removal and posted them to their Facebook page. All that’s left now is an empty base and a chain link fence that was set up to keep criminals away.

“It was absolutely disheartening somebody would vandalize — somebody would steal it,” Smith said.

Over the past two years, the fallen firefighters memorial has been hit over and over again. Sections of the stone base were hammered off, its metal plaques with fallen firefighter names removed for scrap, and the statue’s faces spray painted.

No one’s been caught.

A monument honoring Stockton’s fallen firefighters built to lift up their memories has now been forced to come down.