Man Returns Sword Stolen 40 Years Ago

Man Returns Sword Stolen 40 Years Ago

Juliana Palladino, Writer

A man who remained anonymous has finally returned a sword stolen forty years ago from a statue of Revolutionary War veteran, General William Shepard, in Westfield, Massachusetts on December 28, 2020. 

Cindy P. Gaylord, the chair of Westfield’s Historical Commission, said that a man contacted the city hall about a bronze sword he stole in 1980. She agreed to give the man anonymity if he returned the sword at her home. 

He had a great deal of shame and remorse. He is a veteran and told me the fact that he did this to another soldier troubled him. He wants the story printed to remind people that something you do in your youth could haunt you for the rest of your life,” Gaylord said (ABC News). 

At the time, he was a student at Westfield State University and worked in a local bar. After a night of drinking, he along with a group of friends decided it was a good idea to steal the sword, which he pulled off with his own hands. However, the next morning when they realized what they had done, they were unsure as to how they could return the sword without facing consequences.

The Historical Commission did not know of its loss or even realize it was missing until early November of 1981, about a year after it was stolen. There was then an article in the Springfield Daily News on December 17, 1981 documenting the sword was in fact missing from the statue. 

As a result of the missing sword, a local sculptor was able to replace it years ago, paid for by an anonymous donor. The newly returned sword is now expected to be placed in a local museum, and another mystery in Westfield history is solved.