Just before 6 am on Friday, Feb. 9, a thief stole a roadside cross alongside Eastville Avenue, across from the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, which stood in memory of Rachel Dow, who died in a fiery crash at the location in February 2010 after apparently suffering a medical emergency while driving.
Grainy video from a hospital security camera shows the perpetrator in the act. A still photo is also posted on the Oak Bluffs Police Facebook page.
Mike Dow, Rachel’s father, wants the cross back, no questions asked.
“I don’t want a pound of flesh, there’s no hard feelings, I know people do weird things,” he told The Times. “I just want it back. My daughter’s ashes are there. She died right at that spot. The cross has been there eight years. Why somebody would mess with it now, I have no clue.”
The security video also shows what appears to be a cab pulling into the hospital parking lot during the act. “Maybe it was taking hospital employees to work. Maybe they saw something,” he said.
Mike Dow was the proprietor of Preferred Tire and Auto in Tisbury for many years. “I also reffed hockey on the Island forever and a day,” he said. He now spends his winters in Florida.
“I have a lot of friends on the Island. When I’m not there, someone else takes care of [the memorial]. Even the landscapers that cut the grass take care of it,” he said. “Kevin Henry made the cross, his daughter Rachel painted it and put all the graphics on it. It has a safety sticker on it, which I put there in her name.” Mike said he’s begun crafting a new cross, but still hopes to get the stolen one back. “It means the world to me. I never asked the people to make it, they just did it, you know how that goes in a community like ours,” he said.
Word of the heartless heist has spread quickly.
On Wednesday, the Boston Fox News affiliate ran the story on its early-morning news program.
“I can’t believe how many people have reached out to me,” Dow said. “It’s a pretty sad thing that somebody had to do this. It has no value to them, but it’s invaluable to me. Let’s just do the right thing here.”
Oak Bluffs Police are investigating. Anyone with information can call the department at 508-693-0750.