SELMA, Ala. (WSFA) - Selma police are investigating an odd ‘whodunit’ after alleged thieves made off with a piece that had been quietly sitting for more than a century in a historic cemetery until March 19.
Selma investigators are looking for a stone chair and the suspects behind what they believe is a strange ransom note. It wasn’t just any old chair.
The one taken from the historic Old Live Oak Cemetery in Selma is a heavy, ornate stone chair made in memory of Jefferson Davis. Police got the case on March 19.
All that remains in the cemetery is a detailed historic marker next to slab where the chair was displayed.
‘It had to take about four or five people to move the chair,” said Selma Police Chief Kenta Fulford.
But who took it, and why?
“The chair was taken around the pilgrimage, maybe someone that might’ve been visiting Selma and might’ve seen it came back and got it,” the chief pondered.
It’s not entirely clear who allegedly stole the chair but one group calling itself ‘White Lies Matter’ is claiming responsibility. Local authorities aren’t sure, for now, whether this group is even legitimate.
“People have told me they heard of this group, so apparently it exists,” said Dallas County District Attorney Michael Jackson.
And mixed in with all this is a ransom demand that, if true, involves ‘White Lies Matter’ reportedly making a promise for its safe return under one condition.
That promise goes that the chair will be returned in one piece if the national United Daughters of the Confederacy, headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, will hang a banner on its building on Friday. That’s the anniversary of the Confederacy’s surrender in the Civil War more than 150 years ago.
No one at the national headquarters has responded to requests for comment.
“The banner basically says the ‘rulers of the country value properties over lives,’” said Jackson.
The DA and the police chief said they believe the chair could be worth as much as $500,000.
“You know, the chair is over a hundred years old,” Jackson said.
Fulford said because of its value, those responsible will likely face a felony theft charge, if caught.
The mystery of who snatched the chair from the cemetery that’s the final resting place for a number of prominent people, including a former U.S. vice president, remains a mystery to those in Selma.
Despite the relic honoring Davis, he is not among numerous prominent individuals, including a former U.S. vice president, for whom Old Live Oak Cemetery is a final resting place.
There are no apparent witnesses. No one’s talking, and there are no identifiable clues to the relic’s whereabouts.