Fallen officer's stolen cap officially returned to Hartford City Hall

City marshal Leonard Scherger's legacy lives on.

HARTFORD, Wis. -- A 114-year old piece of Hartford history has been returned to its proper home at the lobby of the Police Department. 

The uniform hat belonging to fallen, city marshal Leonard Scherger was stolen from its display case at City Hall over the summer. 

Scherger was killed in the line of duty in 1904 while checking on a disturbance at a local railroad track. The suspects disarmed him and shot him with his own weapon. 

He's the only Hartford law enforcement officer to die while serving the community, and his death is Hartford's lone, unsolved homicide. 

After months of investigating, police in November said the person who stole the hat confessed to tossing it into a retention pond. 

The city used pumps from its Sewer Utility to clear the pond, and found the hat soaked at the bottom. 

"I picked it up and it was like pudding," said Hartford Police Chief David Groves. 

According to Groves, officers rushed the hat to Hartford Cleaners. Meanwhile, employees at Douglas Jewelers worked to restore a metal pin that's part of the cap. 

The hat was eventually handed over to The Brass Rooster in Milwaukee to be restored. 

John McLaughlin and his wife, who own The Brass Rooster, spent more than 10 hours working on the cap. 

"It involved cleaning, steaming, re-blocking, conditioning the leather, putting a dressing on it," McLaughlin said. "Hopefully it's now as good, or better, than before it was taken." 

All of the businesses that assisted in cleaning and restoring the hat did so for free. They, along with members of Scherger's family, gathered at the police department Wednesday morning to officially place the cap back into its display case. 

Scherger's grand-nephew Ronald Kadolph first donated the cap to the city in 2013 when a community room at City Hall was remodeled and named in the Marshal's honor. 

"I feel like it belongs to them more than to me now, because of all the trouble they went through retrieving it and fixing it up," Kadolph said. 

The suspect in the cap theft is 31-year old Scott Moen. The police chief said he was hit with several municipal citations of almost $700 each. 

City officials are also requesting that Moen pay $6-thousand to $7-thousand in restitution for the costs the Washington County Dive Team and the Water Treatment Plant spent in searching for the hat. 

Print this article Back to Top