It was a Christmas one Norwalk resident always will remember — but not for the right reasons.
The man, who did not want to be identified, was informed Wednesday morning by Norwalk Police Department officer Kevin Schaffer that somebody had stolen the doors off his family’s mausoleum at St. Paul Catholic Cemetery.
Buried in the grave are the man’s great-grandmother Emma Theobald (Dec. 15, 1847—Jan. 18, 1937), great-grandfather Clement Kramer (Nov. 23, 1847—June 21, 1941) and grandmother Violetta Catalano (May 3, 1892—Dec. 31, 1984). The man will be laid to rest there when he dies.
Clement Kramer was one of Norwalk’s first firefighters, serving from 1879 to 1893. He lived above the firehouse and also was the caretaker. His daughter, Violetta Catalano, was born in the firehouse, the man said. The first fire station was located in a building on Seminary Street, just east of Linwood Avenue, where Citizens Bank is now located, he said.
“They are getting cold,” he said, trying to make the best out of the situation. “I want to go out and put a piece of plywood on the grave to keep them warm.
“The doors were stolen over the weekend. I would just like them back — no questions asked. If I get the doors back no questions asked.”
The man said he had his daughter call area scrap yards and told workers there to be on the lookout for the doors. He said she was informed you would need an ID and a notarized statement to sell bronze cemetery doors.
He said somebody broke out the windows on the door to gain access to the inside of the mausoleum and get the doors off. He said two 21 by 83 doors weigh “a couple of hundred of pounds each.”
Wreaths on the doors were placed inside of the mausoleum and nothing inside of the building was damaged.
“It’s unfortunate we’ve turned to this place in our society,” he said. “Somebody who is right couldn’t steal these doors. I’m offering a $500 reward with no questions asked to turn the doors in. Then I would hope they would look for some help and would go to church. I just want the doors returned undamaged.”
What are the doors worth?
“They’ve been here since 1937,” he said. “I’ve been the caretaker here for 55 years. The value is they need to be back where they belong.”
If you have any information, call the Norwalk Reflector at (419) 668-3771 ext. 234.