Police are investigating the theft of a 150-year-old gravestone from historic Linthicum Walks in Gambrills, Anne Arundel County.
Police said they've been investigating since Thursday morning, when the incident was initially reported.
“Not going to lie to you, it’s going to be a tough one,” Anne Arundel County Police Department spokesman Lt. Ryan Frashure said. “We’re handling all the leads that are possible, however, it’s a little unusual.”
Frashure said that because the gravesite is in a secluded area and because there’s no market value for the stolen gravestone, tracking leads may be difficult.
“We don’t know if it’s some type of prank or if someone has some type of sentimental value to it,” Frashure said. “At this point we’re not sure.”
Katie Dentler, president of the Friends of Linthicum Walks, said they reported the theft after a park ranger noticed the gravestone was missing and notified a volunteer.
“We’re just beside ourselves,” Dentler said. She called the gravestone, inscribed with the initials "J.L." for John Linthicum, “irreplaceable.”
According to Dentler, the gravestone stuck out of the ground about 10 to 15 inches. She said it’s about a foot long and about two inches wide.
Barry Gay, a board member of the Friends of Linthicum Walks, said in an email he thinks someone climbed over the chain-link fence between Linthicum Walks and Crofton Middle School.
“Since the stone is rather heavy, it may have taken two people, one person handing the stone over the fence to another, since it would have been difficult for one person to get over the fence while holding the stone,” Gay said.
“I’m sick about it,” Dentler said. “I’m sick. I don’t know what to do to get it back. I won’t ask questions if someone wants to put it on our porch.”
Dentler said that they have since installed motion detector security cameras to try and deter future thefts.
Last year, Linthicum Walks suffered $4,000 in damage to historic windows, Dentler said.
Dentler said that Margaret Argent, a granddaughter of the last private owners of Linthicum Walks, recently joined the board. Argent is a lawyer in Baltimore.
“We’re just happy to have a family member, who has some roots at the house,” Dentler said.