A statue watching over the grave of a Montgomery County police officer killed in the line of duty was stolen in November, police said.
Officer Luke Hoffman died in April 2007 after being struck by a patrol car while pursuing a suspected drunken driver on foot. The suspect had bailed out of a car after a slow-speed pursuit in the Aspen Hill area. He was struck after chasing the driver across Old Georgia Avenue.
“When he was killed in the line of duty, it was just a tragic occurrence for out apartment,” said Montgomery County Police Chief Thomas Manger.
Hoffman’s family purchased a 150-pound, 3-foot-tall concrete statue of a uniformed police officer for his grave at St. Alphonsus' cemetery on Woodstock Road in Baltimore County, police said. Hoffman’s parents have an identical statue at their Marriottsville home.
The statue was stolen from the grave between Nov. 5 and Nov. 15.
“You don’t know whether it was done maliciously, whether it was just a prank,” said Montgomery County police Officer Rob Musser. “Maybe they didn’t even recognize the severity of what they’re doing and the emotional ramifications.”
Hoffman’s father was particularly attached to the statue, Manger said.
“He was so proud of the fact that his son was a police officer, and this was going to be a lasting tribute to his son that I know he planned to be there for many generations,” Manger said.