An audacious thief swiped a sword brandished by a statue of an Army officer atop the tomb of President Abraham Lincoln in Springfield, Ill., authorities say.
The approximately 3-foot-long, copper sword was snapped off at the handle sometime between September and early November, The State Journal-Register in Springfield reported.
Dave Blanchette, spokesman for the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, told the newspaper the theft, which wasn't noticed until last week, is believed to have been the first instance of thievery at the slain 16th president's tomb since 1890 when a sword was taken from the same statuary.
"We just cannot imagine why someone would even think about doing it, let alone climb up the steps and actually do it," Blanchette said.
Blanchette said the tomb has been the target of vandals from time to time, including 1987 when racist graffiti was spray-painted on it.