Persons unknown stole a three-piece stone-carved dragon from the lower part of our front yard over the weekend.

I say persons because there is no way one person could have hauled off the heavy stone that made up the dragon.

The sculpture was a gift to Amy, who has thing about dragons. We found it in Roanoke and Bernie Coveney and I hauled it up the mountain in an SUV and trailer. Bernie and I cussed a lot as we loaded and unloaded that dragon.

I’m more hurt than mad about the theft of the dragon, although I’m sure anger will come into play. Things like this aren’t supposed to happen in Floyd County but I spend enough time covering court for The Floyd Press to know that more and more people are helping themselves to the property of others. Some blame the increase in crime on the recession. I wonder if the cause is more basic: A breakdown in basic human values and a complete disregard for the property or rights of others.

This isn’t the first time Amy and I have been victims of theft but it is the first time it’s happened since moving to Floyd in 2004.

Insurance will help us replace the dragon — assuming we can find one that matches — but a check from Nationwide will not ease the emotions that come from knowing that someone violated the sanctity of our home. The replacement will no doubt be in a more secure spot and we will step up security in and around our home.

This used to be a county where residents left their keys in their cars and their doors unlocked.

No more. Crime, be it petty or serious, is part of life in Floyd County now. A piece of our corner of heaven is gone. I doubt we will ever get it back.