Police are investigating the theft of a marble statue of St. Michael the Archangel from the gravestone of a U.S. Marine in Allegany, New York.
The family of former Marine Corporal David Woods, who died in May 2008, had chosen the marble statue of St. Michael because he is patron saint of the military.
The Olean Times Herald reports that the statue was stolen from St. Bonaventure Cemetery sometime between Saturday and Sunday. It depicts the archangel holding a gray metal sword and stepping on Lucifer’s head. It is between three and four feet tall and valued at $2,500.
A replica from Italy, the statue had been blessed by a Catholic priest. The thief or thieves broke the object from its base.
Diane Hendrix, Woods’ sister, told WIVB News that her whole family, including Woods’ 97-year-old grandmother, had pooled their money to buy the statute.
"One of the things he was most proud of was being a Marine and serving his country. So it was just natural that we got a statue of St. Michael the Archangel who was the patron saint of the military."
"It was such a comforting symbol of what he had accomplished in his life, and our faith."
New York State Police are investigating the theft.