LONGMONT, Colo. - Authorities have recovered the stolen head of a 106-year-old Civil War monument that was toppled and shattered during a weekend rampage at Longmont's Mountain View Cemetery.
The vandalism attack damaged 106 headstones and statues, which will cost tens of thousands of dollars to repair, said cemetery officials.
A firefighter found the statue's head about 7:45 a.m. Tuesday outside Longmont Fire Station 1 at 1070 Terry St., said Longmont Police Cmdr. Jeff Satur.
Satur suspects that someone involved in the vandalism realized after watching news coverage and growing community outrage over the cemetery vandalism, "Uh-oh, I've got this head sitting in my house and somebody's going to turn me in. I better get it back it."
Satur said investigators have swabbed the statue head for suspect DNA and the swabs will be processed at the Colorado Bureau of Investigation crime laboratory.
The Civil War monument was donated to the cemetery in 1907 by the Women's Relief Corps. It was the tallest and most expensive item vandalized in the Saturday night attack. The statue's base is engraved with the words, "In memory of our honored dead."
The latest attack was the worst in a string of four acts of vandalism at the cemetery since the July 4 weekend, said Cemetery manager Tracey George.
"Everything here is hand carved and to find anybody who does that kind of trade anymore is going to be hard," George told 7NEWS. "We figure it's going to be somewhere between $20,000 to $50,000 just to replace this statue."
Shoe marks on the memorial pedestal appear to indicate one or more people climbed up to topple the statue.
An annual Memorial Day ceremony is usually held beside the statue.
"It's really disheartening that they actually tore up our military stones. That’s probably the hardest thing that they hit this time," George said.
Meanwhile, a concerned Longmont resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, has offered to add $1,000 to a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the cemetery vandalism, Satur said. Added to Crime Stoppers funds, the donation could raise the total reward to a potential $3,000.
"The donor, who has family buried at Mountain View Cemetery, was heartbroken by this disgraceful, disrespectful act of wanton vandalism," Satur said. "The Longmont Police Department knows that other members of our community are also outraged by these acts and we are thankful for this offer."
Anyone with information on this crime, or any other crime, is asked to call the Longmont Police Department at 303-651-8501 or Northern Colorado Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Crime Stoppers provides a way for members of the community, like you, to assist local law enforcement agencies in the fight against crime. Crime Stoppers knows "someone other than the criminal has information that can help solve a crime". Crime Stoppers offers ANONYMITY to people who provide information about crimes AND pays rewards when the information supplied leads to an arrest. People providing information to Northern Colorado Crime Stoppers that lead to the arrest and filing of charges for this crime may receive up to $2,000.00 reward and remain anonymous. Tips can also be provided to the Northern Colorado Crime Stoppers via the internet at www.nococrimestoppers.com or by Text to: 244637 (crimes) Keyword: NOCO (followed by your tip).