NORWALK, Ohio - Snow-covered wreaths and frozen flowers decorate St. Paul's Cemetery at 55 Southwest St. just west of downtown Norwalk, showing that this Huron County resting place has plenty of visitors.
Norwalk police said that just before, or on, Christmas Eve, the cemetery had unwelcome visitors who took two 88-inch-tall bronze doors from the mausoleum.
Norwalk Police Chief Dave Light said he hopes a witness visiting the cemetery at the same time may have mistaken the thieves for legitimate workers.
"We've put out quite a few news feelers. It's going to be on our Facebook and so forth. Just looking for tips. Anyone who may have seen anyone working on the mausoleum, or thought they were working on it, or even a license plate number, or something that didn't look quite right, we'd sure appreciate a phone call," Light said.
Family members taking care of the mausoleum are hoping that the thieves realize that scrap yards and antique shops will now not offer cash for cemetery items. They are offering a reward, no questions asked, for the doors' safe return.
The remaining family wants to remain anonymous, but hopes that the mausoleum, which was built in 1937, will get its original doors back unharmed.
"My hope is just whoever took them off is to think about us and put them some place, call someone, tell them where they are, and we've offered a $500 reward for the safe return of the doors, " said a family member.
A man who talked to NewsChannel5 on Friday said his grandmother, entombed beneath his great-grandparents, was born upstairs in Norwalk's original firehouse, where his great-grand parents were living at the time.
His only new year's wish is that 2013 sees his family's bronze doors returned.
"Someone was careful how they removed them, like they were construction-minded. I hope they have a conscience and realize that rather than get caught, they will just drop them somewhere safe," said the family's spokesperson.
Anyone offering information may contact the Norwalk Police Department at 419-663-6780.