OXFORD, Miss. — First the University of Mississippi killed its Colonel Reb mascot.

Now, in a further indignity, police say four young people stole his fictional headstone from a restaurant where it resided.

Ole Miss retired the character from duty as its sidelines mascot in 2003. Critics said the bearded old man’s resemblance to a plantation owner harkened back to slavery.

The Oxford Eagle reports owners of a now-closed restaurant told police on Jan. 31 that a $1,500 headstone commemorating Colonel Reb was stolen.

Four people — 20-year-old Kelli Ann Camp of Oxford, 19-year-old Jose Meraz of Coldwater, 19-year-old Nathan Moss of Grenada, and 20-year-old Brandon Byrd of Southaven — surrendered to police Tuesday.

They have agreed to return the headstone.

All were charged with grand larceny and required to post $1,500 bail.

Information from: Oxford Eagle, http://www.oxfordeagle.com

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