Oneida, KY – The widow of former New Miami Police Chief Dan Gilbert went to visit her late husband’s grave site on Sunday, only to discover that a memorial bench bearing his name and badge had been stolen.
The unknown suspects also stole flowers, a small American flag, and angels from his mausoleum, which is a part of the family’s private cemetery, WTVQ reported.
“It is up a gravel road, but you have to kind of know about the cemetery, or be familiar with the area, because there honestly isn’t any direction to give,” Chief Gilbert’s daughter, Elizabeth, told WLWT.
Chief Gilbert, 54, passed away in October of 2017, following a battle with colon cancer, according to his obituary.
His grieving family members were determined to honor his memory by creating a memorial where they could go to pay their respects.
“It just means a lot to us that we know our dad would be proud to see that, and [the bench is] a great way to sit next to his mausoleum while paying our respects,” Elizabeth told WLWT. “It’s a very personal piece, and I know it just seems like a bench, but at the end of the day, it’s the principle.”
“I guess I don’t understand how anyone could do that,” she said. “That’s stooping to a whole other level of disrespect.”
Chief Gilbert’s family hopes that someone will notice the one-of-a-kind bench at a flea market or yard sale, so they can return it to its rightful place.
“It’s not a short trip and it’s definitely heart-wrenching when you drive all that way to replace flowers and to visit and you get this kind of news,” Elizabeth told WTVQ.
The bench and other items were taken sometime between July 8 and Sep. 16, she said.