The bell was likely taken within the past week, but its disappearance
was first noticed yesterday morning, Historical Commission Chairwoman
Deborah Pellegri said.
“We’re just very upset that something like this would happen,” she
said. “It was just very brazen to think about taking this.”
The brass bell, which was donated by Franklin resident Robert Landry
when the museum opened in its downtown location last year, had been
near a walkway leading to the museum’s entrance.
The bell is about 3 feet wide and tall and weighs several hundred
pounds. Someone probably used wire cutters to remove the bell and
needed a car or truck to take it away, Pellegri said.
Landry noticed it was missing yesterday and reported it to police.
“Every time I went by and looked it was always there,” said Landry,
85, a lifelong Franklin resident. “I was devastated when I went by and
saw it missing. I haven’t gotten over it. It’s just a shame.”
Landry found the bell in an old building he was renovating in the
Franklin area and donated it to the commission as an artifact, he
He doesn’t know the bell’s age, original use or value. But Landry kept
it for 25 years until he found the right place to donate it, he said.
“I thought it was a great addition to the museum,” he said. “I wanted
to give it to the town so that the public could see another old
Police went to the museum yesterday, and detectives are investigating,
Deputy Police Chief Stephan Semerjian said.
Police have contacted departments in other towns to see if it turns up
at salvage yards, Semerjian said.
The bell was probably taken at night by someone seeking to sell the
metal to a salvage yard, Semerjian said.
“Every theft is important to whoever lost the property,” he said.
“Certainly it belongs to the town and is part of the town’s persona.
We’d certainly like to find it and put it back where it was.”
Pellegri hopes someone saw the bell being taken, thought it was the
Historical Commission moving it and will come forward after learning
of the theft.
“I just hope (whoever took it) would be able to clear their conscience
and return it to us as soon as possible,” Pellegri said. “I would ask
that they just drop it off and return it to the museum – no questions
Anyone with information should call Pellegri at 508-520-4900 or
Franklin police at 508-528-1212.
Brian Benson can be reached at 508-634-7582 or email@example.com.