More than a dozen victims of recent cemetery and lawn ornament thefts lined up outside of the Trempeleau County Sheriff's Office property in Whitehall on Thursday.
The victims had their first chance to identify and reclaim their stolen property, bringing their case numbers and pictures of their stolen items.
In September, the Trempeleau County Sheriff's Office responded to a theft report in Arcadia. After searching the property, they found thousands of stolen items from houses and cemeteries in the area. The suspect admitted to stealing items from cemeteries in Trempeleau, Buffalo, Jackson, and Pepin counties.
The Trempeleau County Sheriff's Office collected the items, documented them in a picture book, and numbered each of them. The items may not seem like much, but for some, the property holds sentimental value.
"This was part of my husband's funeral money that we had left, so I bought a gazing ball with it," said Ione Jacobson, a theft victim.
Jacobson said the gazing ball was stolen from her front yard. She thought kids did it as a joke, and she even went checking nearby ditches to see if she could find it.
She said she is happy to have the gazing ball back. She plans to bring it in for the winter months. She said when she puts it back in her yard next spring, she already has some changes planned. She will write her name on it, glue the gazing ball to its post, and move it even closer to her house.
The thefts are under investigation with the Independence Police Department. They have not released any details about the suspect at this time. According to Independence Police Chief Derrick Vold, the Trempeleau County District Attorney is expected to file formal charges in the near future.