TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Officials say there have been several cases of stolen artifacts at the Markle Mill Dam site.

As we’ve reported, the Markle Mill Dam is being demolished.

And officials say people have been breaking off pieces of the stone archway next to where the dam was originally located.

The demolition of the Markle Mill Dam was a very bittersweet moment for a lot of Vigo County residents. Officials say the dam had been completely compromised, was a safety hazard, and the demolition was the only way to save the surrounding mill site.

However, with every end comes a new beginning. James Heimlich is an archeologist with Orbis Environmental Consulting, and he explains how this demolition has opened up a brand-new vibrant waterway.

“We’ve gained a waterway that is going to be vibrant with life. We have gained a lot of history looking at how this dam was constructed. Some of the earliest concrete I have ever seen in the state. A very interesting dam construction that I have never seen in the state,” said Heimlich.

The demolition of this dam has caused some people in the community to want to save some pieces of it before its demise. And Heimlich said people have been removing parts that weren’t part of the planned demolition.

Officials said this theft has shortened the lifespan of the archway which was part of the mill. Heimlich adds that things of this nature are not only morally wrong, but also legally wrong.

“There are state and federal laws that protect archeological sites. This whole area around the dam and the mill site is an archeological site. State law prohibits digging, looting, and destroying archeological sites. There will be severe repercussions of anyone is caught doing that,” added Heimlich.

Officials want to remind everyone that we are the ones that safeguard history so that future generations can enjoy it the same way we do.