Thief claiming Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax steals playground sign

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Police said someone claiming the Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax stole the sign to this park. (WFSB photo) Police said someone claiming the Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax stole the sign to this park. (WFSB photo)

Someone stole the "centerpiece" of the playground built in honor of a Sandy Hook victim, then called the grieving family to taunt them.

A sign at the entrance of a new playground for Sandy Hook victim Grace McDonnell was stolen in Mystic Tuesday.

After the sign was taken, police said someone called the McDonnell family and claimed to have taken the sign because the Newtown shooting was a hoax.

Twenty children, including McDonnell, and six adults were killed by a gunman on Dec. 14, 2012.

Police said the sign was 50 pounds and was meant as a symbol of peace.

It was put in place by the "Where Angels Play Foundation." The organization continues to build playgrounds across the country to honor the victims of the shooting.

"It's sad there are ignorant people who have to show their hatred in a place that was built by a community that shared and expressed their love for the family's in Newtown that witnessed evil," Bill Lavin, of the Sandy Ground Project, told Eyewitness News.

The sign theft comes just days after vandals painted graffiti at a playground in Hartford dedicated to Newtown victim Anna Grace Marquez-Greene.

"The goodness of people built this and then someone has the audacity to come and steal what is a peace sign, I think it was," said Skip Medbury, of Old Mystic.

Lavin said a new sign has been ordered and will be installed soon. Meanwhile neighbors said they still shake their heads at a senseless crime.

"You can't stop ignorant people. You never know who they are," Medbury said.

Each playground is unique to each of the victims they are dedicated to, including Grace's artwork. Lavin told Eyewitness News he hopes the peace sign does someone some good.

Police said they were searching for the sign's thief. Anyone with any information about the theft is asked to call The Stonnington Police Department at 860-599-4411.

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