Lincoln Sculpture Stolen From Museum Found in a Church on His Birthday

A sculpture of Abraham Lincoln's hand that was stolen from the Kankakee County Museum more than a year ago has been found in a local church.

The plaster study by George Grey Barnard was discovered in the back of St. Rose of Lima Parish on Sunday afternoon, the Daily Journal reported. 

"It's a miracle," said Connie Licon, museum director. "It happened in a church. It happened on a Sunday. It happened on Lincoln's birthday." 

A church usher found it in a bag with a note requesting that it be returned to the museum. The usher contacted Licon, who identified it as the lost piece Monday morning. 

"I was speechless," she said. "After 14 months we felt it was never going to be returned, it's not coming back, it's gone." 

The sculpture was taken sometime in December 2015. The museum has improved security since the incident, installing security cameras and adding glass cases over all the small pieces. 

"Obviously someone had some guilt and realized that what started out as a prank got over their head," Lt. Dave Skelly said. "Thank God they had the forethought to return it undamaged. It could have been easy to throw it in the garbage or the river or smash it with a sledgehammer." 

An investigation by the Kankakee police and the FBI is ongoing. 

"The museum and law enforcement and administrators of the city are just thankful that we got the artwork back," said Jay Etzel, investigations commander at the Kankakee Police Department.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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