A bronze crest from the Samuel Colt Monument was found broken into more than a dozen pieces at a local metal recycling center.
The coat of arms was discovered stolen over the weekend, and now it’s up to local historians to try to piece it all together, while police look for those responsible.
While it will take about $300,000 to fix, those who stole it made off with just $49.
"It's quite a statement there about the desperateness of people,” said Jim Griffin, director of the Sam and Elizabeth Colt Industrial and Frontier Heritage Center. "Someone had to plan this. They needed tools. They needed more than one person to do this and this was a coordinated, concerted, deliberate thing."
The Samuel Colt Monument in Colt Park has been there since 1906.
Griffin is taking matters into his own hands, and decided to go out searching for the stolen coat of arms.
"I said lets go take a look around some of the places it could be so I just got in the car and started going around,” Griffin said.
After checking out two other local metal recyclers, he found the crest at Hartford Metal Solutions on Wednesday night.
The company didn’t know it was stolen, so they broke it into more than 20 rectangular pieces.
"This is the sort of price you pay for not emphasizing history in schools and for not making sure the kids have a firm understanding of their civic responsibilities as citizens,” Griffin said.
Now comes the complicated task of putting those pieces back together, to make sure the Colt legacy in Hartford continues to live on.
"We have the original back so that's the good news. It needs a little help to get back looking the way it did but we're going to do that,” Griffin said.
The recycling center gave Griffin the pieces free of charge.
As for those responsible for the theft, police said they do have one suspect, but they are still investigating.
They are getting some help from Tiffanys, a New York company, and a Hartford company. Griffin said he has to bring it to police, so right now there is no timeline for how long it would take to fix.
The piece together is worth $500,000 because it was done by a famous sculptor.
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