Thieves Plunder Tomb of President Garfield to Steal Spoons

Illustration for article titled Thieves Plunder Tomb of President Garfield to Steal Spoons

A group of thieves vandalized the final resting place of President James A. Garfield, stealing a set of commemorative spoons and leaving behind a bottle of whiskey.


According to Fox, thieves broke into the 180-foot-tall monument at Lakeview Cemetery in Cleveland Heights, Ohio by smashing a window. Police found cigarette butts, a T-shirt and a bottle of whiskey. So perhaps this was some sort of offering in exchange for the spoons? "Here, oh mighty President Garfield. We have come for your commemorative spoons! We offer you this fine assortment of cigarette butts and booze in their place. Please accept this humble offering!"

The cemetery's website says Garfield is the only president to have his casket on full display. His casket is located near the glass case from which the spoons were stolen. His wife's casket is next to his. Police reports say cigarette butts, a T-shirt and a whiskey bottle were recovered. Garfield, the nation's 20th president, was born in the Cleveland suburb of Moreland Hills. He was assassinated and served just 200 days in office.


Some of you may be dismissive about the loss of a set of old eating utensils. But may I remind you of the Great Spoon Heists of 1836? That rash of burglaries shut the government down for months. There was widespread panic, with innocent people wandering the streets desperately fearing they would never again enjoy a bowl of soup without having to pick up the bowl.

Hopefully this is just an isolated crime, perpetrated by a group of rabid President Garfield fans or some very extreme antique spoon collectors. I for one, do not wish to see a repeat of one of the nation's darkest tragedies.

If you're interested in learning more about the Great Spoon Heists of 1836, I reached out personally to acclaimed documentary filmmaker Ken Burns to see if he would be available to put together a film about it for us to screen here, but he said "no, because that is total bullshit." I guess he's just too big of a celebrity now to deal with the little people.

Image via Getty Images.



I never knew anything about Garfield until I read Sarah Vowell's Assassination Vacation — turns out he was a pretty interesting dude. Plus the guy who assassinated him was batshit insane and fascinating to read about. It's a great book.