There is a $500 reward available for information about the theft of a historic bell from a backyard in Independence.
The 26-inch, 200-pound cast steel bell is estimated to be worth $1,500 to $3,000, the West Hennepin Public Safety Department said on Facebook Monday.
Officials believe the bell was stolen in late February, with the thieves transporting the Blymyer Norton cast steel school bell from the home over the ice on Lake Sarah, the post says.
Chief Gary Kroells told KTSP the thieves likely made off with the bell in a vehicle or snowmobile across the lake, noting the bell was first reported missing March 7.
It's believed two thieves were involved, and because they took the bell and its metal cradle, they may want to sell or display it instead of melting it down for scrap, the Star Tribune reports.
The bell is estimated to be between 125 and 150 years old.
the bell was used at the Wagner School between 1880 to 1921 to alert people on Lake Sarah to approaching bad weather, the Star Tribune says. It was also used by the former Shady Beach Resort to call people off the lake and guests to dinner in the 1930s, KSTP notes.
Another historic bell was stolen earlier this year from a church in Le Sueur County. That bell also had a $500 reward out for information, but pieces of it were later recovered from a scrapyard.
If anyone has information about the "important piece of local history," they're asked to call West Hennepin Public Safety at 763-479-0500.