Items stolen from Hanover Tavern's 1st-ever Black History Month display: 'The history is gone'

Ricks: 'It has left a disconcerting feeling that someone would take from my family and take away from sharing those continued stories'
Black History Month Thefts
Posted at 4:26 PM, Feb 22, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-22 17:56:47-05

HANOVER COUNTY, Va. -- The historic Hanover Tavern is asking for the public's help to find the people responsible for stealing items from its first-ever Black History Month exhibit on Friday, Feb. 16.

Someone opened up a display case, which was not locked at the time and stole five items from it, including some stamps of Buffalo Soldiers, a trinket case and a $100 Confederate bill, according to staff at the nonprofit.

Hanover Tavern Stolen Items
1 — Silver Trinket Box
2— Perfume Decanter
3 — Pressing Hot Comb
4 — Confederate Currency
5 — Framed Stamp Collection

Part of Joyce Ricks' stamp collection, a straightening iron and what she treasured the most -- a Confederate $100 bill — were among the items stolen.

"It was a part of my family," Ricks said" I've done research on that time period and I still have the memories. The bill is gone though."

Ricks said she provided the items for the display because as a former librarian, she knows the importance of people getting to see items to learn about history.

"It has left a disconcerting feeling that someone would take from my family and take away from sharing those continued stories," Ricks said. "Because we have young people in our family that I would have shared it with. So the history is gone, but the stories are still with me."

Joyce Ricks
"Memories are something that people cannot steal," Joyce Ricks said.

Hanover Tavern Executive Director David Deal said the entire exhibit was thanks to community members like Ricks. Seeing their generosity betrayed is devastating.

"Those objects have very little money value, but it's the family heirloom tie," Deal said. "So anybody that took them, it doesn't mean anything to them. But the people that lost them, that's where the connection is."

The Hanover County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the theft and deputies said they are reviewing security footage to try and identify suspects.

Tavern staff said they just want the items returned. As a result, if whoever is responsible returns the items, staffers said no questions will be asked.

"We're sad it happened," Deal said, "But if we could have a change of heart and things could be returned, that's all we want."

Anyone with information about that could help investigators is asked to contact the Hanover County Sheriff’s Office at 804-365-6140 or the Metro Richmond Crime Stoppers at 804-780-1000. Citizens can also download the “P3 Tips” app for their mobile devices to submit their tip. Both Crime Stoppers methods are anonymous.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email to send a tip.

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