Search on for 1884 bell stolen from Puyallup school

Search on for 1884 bell stolen from Puyallup school »Play Video

PUYALLUP, Wash. -- A historic school bell is gone, with fears that it may be headed to the recycling yard. The brass bell dates back to 1884 when Washington was still a territory.  It's believed thieves took it from in front of Woodland Elementary School in Puyallup.

"And that just made me cry," said PTO president Kellie Malcolm. "I was just at my son's shop crying thinking that it was gone forever."

The bell is practically the only item left from the original school.

"It was on the very tip top of the old school and they used to ring it in the morning to bring the kids," Malcolm said.

The school was eventually rebuilt on the same property, but the bell came with the new school and was on display out front for everyone to see and enjoy.
"I just thought it was unbelievable," said PTO president Kellie Malcolm. "Who would steal a historic bell from the 1800s from our original school site?"

The bell no longer rang -- it was on static display bolted down. They figure the first place it's going to go is to a recycler. So the word has gone out to all the recyclers in the area to be on the lookout for this kind of bell.  The people at Recycling Resources say it's likely whoever took it would cut the bell into pieces and try to sell it.

"If I see the bell because I've made contact, then I told her I'd buy it because it's stolen material and we can make a case," said Donovan Torp of Recycling Resources.

The recyclers figure the value of the bell as scrap is roughly $200. Its worth as a historic item is priceless.

"There isn't a formal reward that's being offered, but we certainly hope that people seeing this story, with any news, with any information that could be shared would give us a call," said Brian Fox of Puyallup Schools.

The bell even has its own poem: "On a clear day the bell in its snug tower announced to all within a large radius the important role she played in the lives of the children and daily called them to join her."