A 300-pound bell was stolen from a church being demolished in Waterbury, and now police are hunting for whoever took off with the more than century-old item.
Crews are upping security at the Nativity of the Holy Virgin Mary Orthodox Church in Waterbury after discovering the theft.
Project manager Albert Well quickly realized something was wrong when he found a storage container broken into at the site.
“It’s cut with a die grinder,” he said. “Obviously they had tools.”
Well displayed some of the valuables that they thought had been safely stored, including a bell.
The bronze bell of a set of three. In late June whoever broke into the container hauled away the smallest one, which weighed roughly 300 pounds.
“It’s devastating because we worked so hard to secure everything, to keep everything,” Well said.
For decades the bells had hung in the tower above.
“Every time we started church services or a special service like at Easter time they would ring all three bells,” longtime church member Nancy Brooks said.
Brooks said her wedding here was one of the first when it opened in the mid 1970s.
“A lot of memories there, a lot of weddings, just great times,” she said.
Time had taken a toll on the building and demolition started earlier this week.
“It’s something that needed to be done. You know, it’s unfortunate. But it does happen,” Brooks said.
Now amid the heartache of watching history destroyed, comes more pain. First, someone got away with scrap metal, and then days later came the theft of the bell.
“There is always hope it will come back. But for now we just look to see what we can do with the other two and get them in a good home,” Well said.
Crews are taking extra precautions after the theft, moving heavy piece equipment right up against the storage container to help prevent it from being struck again.
Police estimate the scrap value of the stolen items is about $500. Anyone with information on the bell is asked to call police.