Abraham Lincoln's hand — or a plaster sculpture of it, at least — was stolen from the Kankakee County Museum sometime in December and authorities have no suspects to point to in the heist.
The mold of Lincoln's hand has been gone since at least Dec. 11, taken from its shelf at the Illinois museum, about an hour south of Chicago, according to The New York Times
. Museum officials initially hoped the theft was a prank and the hand would return in a few days.
"We were devastated," Connie Licon, the museum's executive director, told Smithsonian magazine
after a custodian noticed the sculpture missing. "It just brought us all to the floor. We're a small museum, and we just don't acquire pieces like this."
"What makes people think what's someone else's belongs to them? Just return it in a quiet way. Just put it in a bag and leave it somewhere," she continued.
The Kankakee Police Department posted photos and details about the missing hand, which they said is more than 150 years old, on Facebook.
"Kankakee police have requested the public's help in relocating the treasured piece of history, which has added local value since [artist George] Bernard spent part of his childhood in Kankakee before rising to prominence in the early 20th century," said an editorial in Kankakee's local newspaper, the Daily Journal
"The easiest path to recovery would be for the culprit or culprits to give it back. While the sculpture has great historical and sentimental value, it is relatively worthless to the average person. Unlike stolen copper, it won't command much of a price from a recycler, and only a serious art collector would pay significant money for it," the editorial continued.
Those with information about the hand can call the Kankakee Police Department investigations bureau at (815) 933-0426.
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