After preserving the Union and ending the abomination of slavery only to meet his demise by a cowardly bullet shot to the back of the head, it is more than expected that our 16th President be allowed to rest in peace. Unfortunately, thieves appear to believe otherwise, as the 3-foot long copper sword attached to a bronze statue of a civil war artillery officer over President Abraham Lincoln's tomb in Springfield has gone missing.
The Springfield State Journal-Register reports that an employee noticed that the sword was cut from the statue last week. Dave Blanchette, a spokesman for the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, told the Journal-Register that the theft is believed to have been the first to state property at the Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site since 1890:
"'We just cannot imagine why someone would even think about doing it, let alone climb up the steps and actually do it,' Blanchette said.
Site officials plan to repair the statue, he said."
Other than the theft, no significant damage was done to the rest of the statue. CBS St. Louis notes that the same sword was stolen in 1890. While officials noticed the sword missing last week, CBS reports that officials think the sword was stolen sometime between September and early November. The statue is on the tomb's balcony which is closed to visitors, leading staff to believe that the the thief must have come at night when there were no guards.
CBS reports that a security guard had been posted overnight after a 1987 incident in which racist graffiti was spray-painted on the tomb, but budget cuts ended that position within a few years of the incident. Five teenagers were arrested for the graffiti. Blanchette told the Journal-Register that the tomb suffers an incident of vandalism about once every decade.
CBS writes that the tomb was dedicated in 1874 and is the final resting place of Abraham Lincoln, his wife Mary, and three of their four sons. Lincoln's body is placed in a specially designed steel and concrete vault beneath the floor of the burial chamber, according to the Historic Sites Commission of Springfield, Illinois.