GROVE CITY, OH (WMCH) – Two thin blue line flags memorializing a fallen Franklin County Sheriff’s deputy were stolen over the weekend.

The banners hung on memorial signs for Deputy Marty Martin at I-71 north and south bound, near Stringtown Road. 

“Deputy Martin was killed when he was in the area of 71 and Stringtown Road on a narcotics investigation,” said Chief Deputy Jim Gilbert. “He worked a covert assignment and it was raining that night.”

He said Deputy Martin was a passenger in a vehicle that night and was killed while on duty in September 2008. Deputy Martin had served 10 years on the force.

“Marty Martin was a great guy. The kind of guy that everybody would want to work around, very well respected amongst his peers,” said Chief Deputy Gilbert.

It was Chief Deputy Gilbert’s idea to place the thin blue line flags underneath Deputy Martin’s memorial signs. They went up during police week in May and were weatherized to withstand conditions on the highway.

“That’s to give a constant reminder of the motoring public of the sacrifices law enforcement officers make for the public,” he said. “He was killed in that area while on duty investigating a narcotics investigation.”

It symbolized his dedication to serving his community until the end.

“That thin blue line and that flag symbolizes what we’re willing to go out and do and that’s put ourselves between evil and those within society that want to do harm to not only the public, but to law enforcement officers, so it means a lot to us,” said Chief Deputy Gilbert.

Owner of M.A.D. Graphics in Obetz Seth Lykins donated the original banners.

“It’s just a pointless act to steal something that was trying to remember somebody’s life,” he said. 

He just made another pair to replace the ones that were stolen.

“It really was no question that we just make another set,” said Lykins. “It didn’t take much time. We get it done and make it happen, so they can get back out there and do what they’re supposed to do just bring awareness to him and other fallen officers.”

Chief Deputy Gilbert said they plan to put up the replacement banners on Monday.

“It’s a blessing to know there are citizens and businesses out there that support law enforcement,” he said.