Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

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July 3, 2014

Shock comes after funeral ring theft

bporterfield@pvdemocrat.com — Shock and disbelief have come from the theft of a wedding ring right off the body of a man whose funeral was set for earlier this week in Pauls Valley.

The theft came on Monday as the body of Bob Nichols, 90, was lying in state for viewing at the local Stufflebean-Coffey Funeral Home.

One of Nichols’ daughters, Sandy Strickland of Pauls Valley, is quick to defend the funeral home and stresses all the blame goes on those who would commit such a dastardly deed.

“It’s not on the funeral home,” Strickland said. “They’re not responsible for stolen items. In fact they’re devastated. This has never happened to them before.

“We don’t blame the funeral in any way. They are personal friends of ours.”

Instead, Strickland and her family are making a plea for the thief to return the ring with no questions asked.

“We just hope the ring will be returned to the funeral home,” she said.

“Just place it in a sack, drop it and run. We’ll just be grateful to have it back.”

Strickland describes the wedding ring as a men’s gold band with three diamonds.

Naturally the ring holds special meaning for Strickland and her two sisters.

It was her father’s own wishes decades ago that after his death the three diamonds be taken off the ring and given to each of his three daughters.

The ring was among the things included in the funeral home’s preparation of Nichols’ body for public viewing.

With the funeral scheduled for Tuesday afternoon it was the previous day when one of Strickland’s sisters noticed the ring was missing from her father’s finger.

“We actually saw the ring on his finger before that time,” Strickland said.

“It was our request. We wanted that to be with our dad.”

After the discovery local police were notified as officers filed a report and began checking local pawn shops, Strickland said.

Although she remains unsure what exactly happened, Strickland said they’ve confirmed a group of people were at the funeral home for another service.

She was told there was “some sort of disturbance” as some from the group left the funeral home through the front door, while others went out a side door.

“That was the only time anyone else was even in the funeral home,” she said.

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