Since 1992, Chief Lappawinze has watched over visitors to Jasper Park in Vera Cruz.
Now it seems it would have been helpful if someone had been watching over him, at least at the right moment.
Sometime within the last month, someone made off with the peace pipe of the 10-foot carved wooden statue of the Native American leader that graces the recreational park. According to state police at Fogelsville, the wooden pipe that the chief held in his left hand was taken between Aug. 1 and Sept. 1.
No value was placed on the item, which was taken from 4960 Vera Cruz Road N.
Chief Lappawinze was the leader of the Lenni Lenape tribe of the Delaware Indians, who inhabited the Vera Cruz area, according to a 2011 article by Peggy Heminitz of Emmaus Patch. Lappawinze was one of four chiefs who signed the Walking Purchase Treaty in 1737 with the sons of William Penn.
Chief Lappawinze was memorialized on June 7, 1992 with the dedication of a yellow pine carved statue, according to the Heminitz article. The statue was created by Duane Bender of Sullivan County. Funding was provided by the Vera Cruz Community Association.
The elements took a toll on the statue, which was removed in 2008, refurbished and today stands in the Upper Milford Township Municipal Center. A replacement was created from red cedar by Jack McEntire of Selah, Wash., and placed in Jasper Park on June 16, 2011. The Community Association funded the refurbishing and replacement, according to Heminitz.
It was the pipe from the replacement carving that recently was taken.
A sign in the park warns visitors that removing anything from Jasper constitutes theft and is punishable with penalties of up to a $5,000 fine and two years' imprisonment. The removal of the pipe has all the earmarks of a prank, but it is stealing nonetheless. Police ask that anyone with information call them at 610-395-1438.