ELLSWORTH – It has been 36 years since a cross was stolen from a local church and later was found nearby in a river, and now police are looking for it again.
The 2-foot-high brass cross vanished a second time during the past week from St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church on State Street, according to Ellsworth police Officer Kelvin Mote. It disappeared sometime between noon Nov. 21 and 8 a.m. Nov. 28, he said Tuesday.
Ellsworth police Lt. Harold Page said Tuesday that the same cross was stolen from the church in 1968.
“We recovered it back then. We found it in the [Union] river,” Page said. “I told Mote to go look there again.” The replacement cost for the cross, Mote said, is more than $1,000, which makes the theft a felony crime.
“It’s a processional cross,” Mote said. “I wish it would miraculously reappear.”
The officer said he does not believe anyone was charged with stealing the cross in 1968. He said it later was recovered in the Union River, which runs roughly parallel to State Street through downtown Ellsworth, between the Leonard Lake Dam and the Route 1 bridge.
Mote said he does not know the circumstances of how police recovered the cross 36 years ago.
Recently, the cross was kept screwed to the top of a pole in the church’s sanctuary, according to the officer. He said there is no sign of forced entry to the church and that nothing else is believed to have been taken.
The doors to the church normally are kept locked, he said, which has led police to speculate that a door may not have been latched properly or that someone could have gained access to a key.
There are no suspects in the case, according to police.
Anyone with information about the missing cross is asked to contact Ellsworth police at 667-2133.