Bell honoring victims of Newtown, Conn. school massacre stolen from N.Y. playground

The bell was stolen from a playground in Island Park, N.Y. which was built in honor of 6-year-old Caroline Previdi who was killed in the Dec. 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
Family photo via CBS New York

(CBS/AP) ISLAND PARK, N.Y. - Police say a bell dedicated to the  victims of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Conn. has vanished just hours after it was placed at a newly built playground.

Nassau County police say the 8-inch by 8-inch brass bell was determined to be missing around 1 p.m. Sunday from the playground in Island Park, N.Y. It was last seen around 9 p.m. Saturday.

That's the day the community completed a two-day effort to construct the playground. It is one of 26 dedicated to the 20 children and six educators killed in the December 14, 2012 shooting massacre. The playgrounds are being built throughout the region in tribute.

The bell's inscription says: "Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings."

According to CBS New York, each of the 26 playgrounds being built showcases one of the victims' likes and interests. This particular playground honored 6-year-old Caroline Previdi, Bill Lavin, the founder of the Sandy Ground Project which developed the playgrounds, told the station.

"This was the 10th playground. It was in honor of Caroline Previdi who loved the color pink and the New York Yankees," he told CBS New York's radio affiliate 1010 WINS. "So there's much more to celebrate, and I just hope that this particular incident doesn't tarnish that beautiful project in any way."

Lavin called the theft "unfortunate" and said the thief most likely didn't know the significance of the bell.

"...I think if they knew the significance of it, they certainly would have left it alone," he said.

Detectives ask anyone with information to contact Nassau County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS. All callers will remain anonymous, police said.