LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Two pieces of history are missing from the old Albert A. Wells Memorial Library.
The building is currently owned and being restored by the Tippecanoe Arts Federation.
However, within the last week or so,someone stole two large bronze lights outside the structure. Those lights date back to 1926.
TAF Executive Director Tetia Lee was the first to notice they were gone on Thursday.
She said the lights are simply irreplaceable.
"People don't make things like that anymore," said Lee. "It's been a part of this community, this neighborhood, I mean, it almost made it 100 years so it's just, it's sad."
Sad and surprising it had to come to this.
"Dr. Wells donated the dollars to create and erect this building so that the community had a place to gather," said Lee.
She doesn't understand why someone would steal from an organization meant to serve the community.
"I can only see this as an act of desperation because they needed money," said Lee. "I mean, we are a community that gives. All you have to do is ask. It didn't have to be like that."
Lee also can't fathom how no one saw or heard anything. She knows with the weight of the bronze and the way these lights were mounted, there's no way it was an easy or speedy job.
"We need help from our neighborhood to be vigilant, you know? We are all in this community and development and community enhancement together," said Lee.
Although it's unlikely we'll ever see anything like the two lights that were stolen from this iconic entrance, Lee is open to suggestions on how to replace them. She said their value was well into the thousands.
"We'll keep it, as we have with all of our work, as close to historically accurate as possible," said Lee.
Lee said Oscar Winski told her it may have bought some of the bronze pieces.
However, what was purchased has already been processed.
News 18 reached out to Winski but we have yet to hear back.
Lee hopes video footage of the sale leads police to the suspects.
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