See that guy over there to the left? That's Sean P. McNee, 43, of 182 South Park Street in Willimantic. Sean is the upstanding citizen who thought it was a good idea to steal what was once a beautiful bronze statute that someone had lovingly put on the grave of Sarah Larned Osgood over 100 years ago and try to sell it to a scrap yard. In the process Sean, great guy that is, managed to break apart the 450-pound figure of a kneeling woman in flowing robes and completely and totally ruin what was not only a beautiful piece of art but the best part of the Yantic Cemetery here in Norwich.
The details of the crime so far are still sketchy but kudos to the people at the unidentified scrap yard who reported to the Norwich Police that they had part of the statute which our boy Sean there had brought in to sell once he had cut it apart. An investigation led to an arrest warrant which in turn brought in the "alleged" thief on charges of first-degree larceny, first-degree criminal mischief and desecration of a grave site. A nice hefty bond of $150,000 was ordered and the "alleged" thief is due in Norwich Superior Court today where I'm hoping the judge raises the bond and throws him into a nice cold cell until his next court date rolls around.
According to the report in the Norwich Bulletin, the head is still missing from the statute and other arrests are pending so I can only hope that perhaps during the continued course of the investigation that missing piece will turn up and maybe, just maybe, they'll be able to piece Sarah's statute back together again. I don't know if it's possible but I sure hope so.
The article in the Bulletin didn't allow for reader's comments but a similar story in the New London Day does and it's rather obvious that other people in the area feel the same way that I do about this horrible crime and would like to see justice served. First, though, the Norwich Police need to round up Sean's cohort(s) as I rather doubt he was able to remove a 450-pound statute by himself and then - however many of them there are - they need to be dealt with through the criminal justice system also.
I have to tell you, looking at the desecrated pieces of this once-beautiful monument makes me sick to my stomach and I have to wonder again how people can do such things without having some twinge of conscience or sense of remorse or inkling that what they're doing is about as wrong as it gets? How do people get to be so cold and uncaring? I know the economy is bad and that times are tough but times were tough before; when this country went through the Great Depression this same statute knelt at Sarah's grave but no one pried her up, busted her apart, and tried to sell her for scrap then.
Sean McNee, I hope that you are prosecuted to the highest extent of the law and if by any chance I find out when your next court date is and I don't have to work, I'd be happy to be there to see you - hopefully - get the justice that you so richly deserve. That's a blog post I would be more than happy to write!
An updated article in the Norwich Bulletin appears here if you'd like to read further.
*Photo credits to the Norwich Bulletin and the Norwich Police