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Police find woman's 'memorial rock' with corner broken

| Wednesday, April 25, 2012, 6:41 p.m.

Jan Sterf's prayers have been heard.

Yesterday, a stolen 3-by-5-foot rock that Sterf considered a memorial to her late husband, Richard, was returned to her Southwest Greensburg home.

"I prayed He would bring it back, but I didn't know He'd answer my prayers so quickly," Sterf said.

Borough police Chief Chris Kent said a caller told authorities yesterday morning where the rock with a Harley-Davidson design could be found.

"We got a call that it was in a fenced-in area on South Pennsylvania Avenue (in Greensburg)," Kent said. "We went up, put it in a patrol car and took it back."

Sterf, 73, wasn't at her Green Street house when police returned the rock. She discovered the memorial when she returned from grocery shopping.

"I was shocked," she said.

Richard, who died in March 2010, was cremated. With no grave to visit to remember him, Sterf and her family added extra sentimental value to the rock, one of her husband's prized possessions. He won the rock at a raffle 15 years ago when he was active in a POW-MIA motorcycle club.

Sterf credited a story in Tuesday's Tribune-Review for helping in the rock's return.

Kent speculated that someone took the rock as part of a prank. He said four other yard statues were taken from borough properties in the last few days.

"My guess is, there's a lot of seniors graduating from college or high school ... and it was part of a scavenger hunt," Kent said.

The rock wasn't unscathed: A corner was broken.

Still, Sterf is overjoyed.

"It is a rock, and I think it can be cemented and repaired," Sterf said. "We're going to get it repaired and put in the back yard, behind our fence, where it can't be taken again."

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