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By Melissa Garcia

DENVER (CBS4) – A Navy Veteran in Denver is the victim of thieves who he says stole a monument to the dead.

There was a bare spot in the rose garden where a Virgin Mary replica stood in Dan Hallinan’s front lawn for more than 25-years.

stolen statue 3 Monument To The Dead Stolen from Denver Navy Veteran

Hallinan, an 85-year-old veteran and Denver native, was heartbroken to discover on Saturday that the cement statue was gone.

“I mean, somebody’s sick. I guess they needed it worse than I do,” Hallinan told CBS4’s Melissa Garcia.

Hallinan, who lives in the same house where he grew up near 45th Avenue and Federal Boulevard, said that he bought the statue as a tribute to loved ones when his brother died in 1991.

stolen statue 2 Monument To The Dead Stolen from Denver Navy Veteran

(credit Dan Hillinan)

Whoever stole the religious icon, Hallinan said, also robbed him of a sentimental family memento. The statue honored nine close relatives who Hallinan lost over the years.

“My dad, my mom, three brothers and four sisters… All my deceased (relatives),” said Hallinan, breaking into tears.

stolen statue 1 Monument To The Dead Stolen from Denver Navy Veteran

(credit CBS)

Though the figure stood just a few feet high, Hallinan believed that lifting the statue would have required two people.

“It’s heavy,” he said.

He filed a report with Denver Police on Saturday, and hoped that someone would recognize it elsewhere and contact authorities.

Melissa Garcia has been reporting for CBS4 News since March 2014. Find her bio here, follow her on Twitter @MelissaGarciaTV, or send your story idea to mkgarcia@cbs.com.

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