LEXINGTON, N.C. -- One of the Ten Commandments is, “Thou shalt not steal.”
Church members at Pilgrim Reformed Church in Lexington say thieves broke that commandment when they stole a 4-foot-tall, 800-pound statue from their historic church cemetery. It is the oldest church in Davidson County. Revolutionary War soldiers, Confederate soldiers, World War I and World War II veterans are buried behind the church.
“I'm more interested in their eternal souls,” said Pastor Richard Moore, in regards to the thieves. “Because right now, it's in jeopardy. I would like to see them come back to Christ. And I would like to see them bring the statue back with them.”
The stolen statue belongs to the gravesite of Alta Leonard, who died in the early 1900s from an illness at the age of 15. She, as well as many others buried at the same place, are related to Revolutionary War veteran and founding father of the church, Valentine Leonard. Multiple generations of the Leonard family are buried there. Some living relatives attend the church.
Church historian Jim Neese says the solid marble statue depicts a young girl, who is portrayed as an angel. The statue is worth about $2,000.
The statue was discovered missing on Sept. 21 by church members. Multiple calls were placed to family members and the congregation to see if they knew of the statue’s whereabouts. On Oct. 14 it was reported to Davidson County deputies as stolen. The church hopes that somebody knows something that can help them find the statue.
“It's a beautiful statue and I can see why someone would want it,” Neese said. “But we would like to have it back.”
The church is considering security measures for the cemetery. One suggestion under consideration is building a gate.