AKRON, Ohio (WJW) – A fallen soldier’s grave has been disturbed by a thief who stole the bronze ornament honoring his status as one of Theodore Roosevelt’s finest men.
Now, one local historian is working to see it returned to its rightful place.
Lewis Snodgrass is in disbelief that anyone would stoop this low.
“I’m actually hurt,” Snodgrass said. “When I found this thing missing in mid-February, I thought to myself, ‘who could possibly want to take this soldier’s monument?’”
Theodore Westwood Miller’s bronze grave ornament was taken from his final resting place at Glendale Cemetery in Akron.
“The bronze ornamentation, of the first volunteer cavalry of Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders,” Snodgrass said. “This ornamentation is an exact replica of what the medal looked like of all the rough riders they received after the Spanish-American war.”
Miller was the youngest son of Akron Industrialist Lewis Miller, who had 11 children. He was also the brother-in-law of Thomas Alva Edison.
Miller was seriously wounded while climbing San Juan Hill in Cuba on July 1 – later dying on July 8, 1898.
He’s buried next to his family members in Akron where he’s laid peacefully for almost 125 years, until the recent theft.
Snodgrass is trustee of the Cuyahoga Falls Historical Society. Every year on Memorial Day, he visit’s Miller’s grave, scrubs it clean and adorns it with American flags to honor the fallen soldier.
But now he’s disgusted to find Miller’s grave has been defaced and the emblem of his sacrifice has been stolen for what someone else might scrap for a cheap buck.
“I was hurt and it prompted me to get into action to try to find where this ornamentation is,” he said.
The ornament has been missing for almost a month. Snodgrass and the leadership at Glendale Cemetery want to see it returned promptly. If not, they hope to raise enough money for a replacement.
“I just would love to get the original piece back,” Snodgrass said. “I’d like to put it together like it was last year at this time. I’d like to make sure that it doesn’t come off again. And yes, I would like to have the person who removed it brought to justice.”
Akron police are handling the investigation. If you have information that could help lead to the return of the item, call Akron PD at 330-375-2490 or 330-375-2Tip. You can also text tips to 274637. You can choose to remain anonymous.