The man, who Fox News said was a veteran, allegedly told the head of the Massachusetts town’s historical commission that he regretted taking it. The man who returned it has been granted anonymity for returning the massive century-old bronze sword.
Cindy P. Gaylord, the chair of Westfield’s Historical Commission, told The Springfield Republican that a man had contacted her multiple times to confess that he had the sword and wanted to return it.
“He had a great deal of shame and remorse,” Gaylord told the outlet. “He is a veteran and told me the fact that he did this to another soldier troubled him. He wants the story printed to remind people that something you do in your youth could haunt you for the rest of your life.”
The Springfield Republican reports that Gaylord said the man took the sword when he was in college nearby as part of a prank and over the years he felt guilty about having it. She told the outlet that they opted to meet after Christmas for him to confess and return the property back to the town of Springfield.
“We absolve you of any guilt. You’ve done the right thing,” she told The Springfield Republican.
General Shephard was born in Westfield in the 1730s, Fox News said. The Army general is a beloved historical figure in the town, as he fought in the Revolutionary War, French and Indian War as well as the War of 1812. Shephard was also close friends with Gen. George Washington, The Springfield Republican reported.
A statue of the general was erected in 1919 and contained the now infamous bronze sword, which the then-college student stole in 1981, according to reports. The statue was given a replacement sword soon after it went missing and has had that ever since, according to Boston.com.