A 1850 Antebellum bell was taken from the Stone Creek Baptist Church in Dry Branch sometime this week.
Twiggs County Chief Deputy Billy Boney said investigators believe thieves took the brass bell sometime Tuesday night.
The bell was a gift from the Willingham family of Willingham Sash & Door and was originally hung from a church steeple in 1940 before a tornado swept through in 1953 and it was relocated to a brick pedestal at the church on the corner of Sgoda Road.
"It's a real pretty piece of history that we need to get back to these people," Boney said.
The church plans a Bicentennial Celebration in 2008, so authorities hope they can recover it for the festivities, he said.
The bell is about three feet in diameter at its base and about two feettall.
"It probably took two people to get it," Boney said. "All metal is in demand. People are taking copper and brass and anything they can get their hands on."
Metal recycling facilities are urged to be on the lookout for the bell. If anyone has information about the theft, contact the Twiggs County Sheriff's Office at 945-3357 or Macon Regional CrimeStoppers at (877) 68CRIME.