Thieves steal historic fence from Morgan County cemetery

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MORGAN COUNTY, Ind.- Thieves targeted a cemetery and stole straight from the dead.

Sometime between Mother’s Day and last week, thieves took a historic fence that surrounded graves dating back to the 1800s.

“I wanted to cry is what I wanted to do,” said Patty Dow, a relative.

William and Lucinda Thompson Sandy are Dow’s great-great-great grandparents. The husband and wife’s headstone used to have a 130-year-old iron fence around it, but now there are only two posts and broken pieces left.

“It’s not the gravesite that it was. It’s bare,” said Shanan Dow, another relative.

The cemetery plot is in the far corner of Stierwalt Cemetery. The Dow family believes this wasn’t the first visit for these vandals.

“They knew. They had probably cased it. They knew what they were after and it had to be more than one person. It was a conscious effort to come and do what they did,” said Shanan Dow.

After looking at the evidence, relatives think the thieves may have even used a piece of the tombstone, which is now cracked, to pound on the fence in an attempt to loosen it.  If the thieves scrapped the iron fence, the most they would get is maybe $1,000, but to this family the fence is worth more than money.

“It was part of our history and now you’ve stolen that from us,” said Patty Dow.

Not even a month ago, vandals destroyed nearly 30 gravestones at a Lawrence County cemetery.  A couple weeks ago, vandals hit a cemetery in Franklin right before Memorial Day weekend.

“I just wish people would stop doing things like that. There are all sorts of agencies and help out there for people that need help they don’t have to resort to this type of thing,” said Patty Dow.

It’s a heartless crime this family is willing to forgive, if the thieves are willing to return what’s theirs.

“There just aren’t words to describe how I feel about it,” said Patty Dow.

No word if investigators believe the recent cemetery vandalism cases are connected or not. If you know anything about the recent fence theft, call the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office. The Dow family is offering a reward for the recovery of the fence.

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