Who has Abraham Lincoln’s hand?
A plaster sculpture of Abraham Lincoln’s hand, which is 150-years-old, has been stolen from the Kankakee County Museum in the city of Kankakee, which is located about an hour away from Chicago. According to reports, Abe’s hand went missing sometime before December 11, but nobody knows exactly when, how, why, or who stole the precious hand.
Abraham Lincoln’s stolen hand was displayed at a wing in the museum, which is dedicated to the artworks of George Grey Barnard, an American sculptor who admired Lincoln. The sculpture of the hand is one of his works, and it has been housed in the museum since 1991.
Connie Licon, executive director at the museum, said that they were devastated about the stolen hand, the New York Times reported.
“We’re a small museum, and we just don’t acquire pieces like this,” she said.
Jay Etzel from the Kankakee City Police Department spoke to People about the incident.
“Somebody just swiped it off, stuck it in their pocket, or a book bag, or their coat or something and just walked out with it. There was no censor on it… There’s no video.”
Although the exact time Abraham Lincoln’s hand went missing isn’t known, a custodian noticed that it wasn’t on its usual spot on December 11. However, police believe that Abraham Lincoln’s hand could have been missing as far as a week before December 11.
— Chicago Sun-Times (@Suntimes) January 4, 2016
Etzel says that it was easy for the thief to get the hand, as December is the busiest month for the museum, with tourists, locals, and children going in and out of the museum for tours. It’s also possible that getting the hand is just a prank.
According to the Smithsonian, the stolen hand is special to the museum, as its creator spent his childhood in Kankakee. As a precaution, the curators removed other Barnard works from their displays because of their fear that the one who stole the hand will come back to get other pieces.
The Kankakee Police Department posted on their official Facebook account to seek help in locating Abraham Lincoln’s missing hand and to catch whoever took it. According to the post, the missing hand is about “the size of a 8-10 pound ham.” According to the police report, the missing artifact is estimated to be worth at least $5,000, but the artwork is invaluable to the museum. The Facebook post is also accompanied by pictures of the missing hand.
This is not the first time that Abraham Lincoln memorabilia has been stolen, says James Cornelius, a curator at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Illinois. According to Cornelius, several books and manuscripts that are related to Abraham Lincoln were stolen throughout the years. Some even went as far as to attempt to steal Lincoln’s body from his Springfield tomb in the 1870s. Fortunately, the culprits were unsuccessful.
— Grave Distractions (@GraveDistract) January 5, 2016
Licon hopes that Abraham Lincoln’s stolen hand is returned back to its home in the museum soon. She is requesting the thief to just return it anonymously so they can have their prized artwork back.
“Just return it in a quiet way. Just put it in a bag and leave it somewhere.”
The thief could face a charge of felony theft for stealing Lincoln’s hand.
[Photo by Associated Press]