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Child’s memorial bench stolen

By lmclaughlin
Thursday, July 5th, 2007 at 3:59 pm in Crime, Lafayette, Lamorinda.

A bench a Lafayette family placed at a memorial for their 6-year-old son who died of cancer has disappeared from its perch.

Nicholas Colby Gilbert used to sit and play on the bench in his front yard when he was alive. After his death, his parents moved it to his memorial site at Oakmont Memorial Park and Mortuary on Reliez Valley Road.

The family visits the site every day and arrived June 21 to find the bench missing, said Lamont Gilbert, the child’s father.

“It’s 150 to 200 pounds so it’s very heavy,” Gilbert said. “It would need two people to carry it off.”
Whoever swiped the 4-foot long terra cotta bench likely dropped it while absconding with it, Gilbert said. He found a 5-inch piece from one of the bench legs at the site.
The family plans to purchase a new bench and bolt it to the foundation.

“We are going to replace the bench, but it’s not going to be the same,” Gilbert said. “It won’t be the one Nicholas played on.”

Detectives with the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office are looking at circulating a photo of the bench to help develop leads. Thefts of memorabilia from a cemetery aren’t typical, said Sgt. Paul Beard.

Nicholas was diagnosed with leukemia at age 4. He lost his battle against the disease in May 2006 when he was 6.

_Katherine Tam

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