AZLE (CBSDFW.COM) – Azle police are investigating who stole a sentimental piece of firefighting equipment from a North Texas firefighter’s widow. Investigators believe the thieves targeted the stolen metal object for scrap.

The deck gun was made mostly of steel and used as a garden decoration for the last decade.

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Now there’s an empty space in Nancy Stark’s flower bed.

“It’s probably about 5 feet long and – gosh – probably about 300 pounds. It’s not a light object at all,” said Stark. “A deck gun is usually a nozzle that you hook a hose up and you can spray water out of it from the top of a fire truck.”

The family is spreading the word online, and searching scrap yards – hoping to find it.

“I really have no idea why anyone would take it. It doesn’t have use to anybody. It doesn’t work. It was a retired object,” said Stark.

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The piece of equipment was a daily reminder of her husband, Michael Stark.

“It’s important to me. It has a lot of sentimental value. I lost my husband three years ago from pancreatic cancer. He was a fireman for 26 years. He worked for the city of Grapevine for the last 18 of his 26 year career.”

She and her daughter, Brittany, believe he developed cancer from the career he loved.

“He passed away Father’s Day 2015 and we buried him on our nine year anniversary.”

Detectives say local fire officials were notified to be on the look out in case it turns up. Nancy said she’d be happy to see it reappear – no questions asked.

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The detective handling the case said he plans to go into area pawn shops Friday to see if anyone’s seen it, or has tried to sell it.