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"Soggy but secure:" Missing 114-year-old police hat in Hartford found in retention pond

HARTFORD, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The Hartford Police Department has recovered their missing police hat from Marshal Leonard Scherger who was killed in the line of duty in 1904. 

The two suspects who were cited for the theft, 31-year-old Scott Moen and his mother Lisa Anderson, told police they threw the hat in a retention pond. 

"I got sick to my stomach that the cap would be gone because I thought it would be part of Hartford their legacy, their history," said Ronald Kadolph who donated his great uncle's hat to the Hartford Police Department. 

The Hartford Wastewater Treatment department facilitated the recovery of the hat by pumping out the majority of the 500,000 gallons of water in the retention pond. The pump took over nine hours to complete before the hat was found around 12:15 p.m. on Wednesday, November 15.

The Director of the Wastewater Treatment Department, Dave Piquett, was the first to spot the hat when he saw what he initially thought was a plastic bag in the water about 15 yards south of the spot where the suspect claimed to have thrown it. Upon closer inspection, he realized that it was the stolen hat.

The hat was covered with a thin layer of the clay that was used to line the bottom of the retention pond when it was constructed. This clay coverage most likely made it undetectable for the divers attempting to recover it from the pond last week.

Officers took the hat and immediately took it in for professional drying and cleaning which could take several weeks.

The hats golden metal “POLICE” pin was not recovered, but efforts are underway to have a duplicate fabricated. The hat was badly soaked, but the cloth material and the leather bill were completely intact. Hartford Police are hopeful that it can be fully restored.

"This is not just a hat. The value is probably pretty low but the value to the family, this community, the Hartford Police department is inestimable."

Restitution will be sought from the suspect for all of the expenses incurred for the services of the Washington County Dive Team, the draining of the retention pond, and the ongoing professional restoration efforts being performed on the 114-year-old fallen hero’s hat.

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