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Eleventh bronze statue stolen in Utah art heists

Published December 4, 2012 7:16 pm

Crime • Owner of most of the stolen sculptures believes thieves took the art to sell for scrap.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A thief — or thieves — have made off with a bronze statue from a Salt Lake City park, the eleventh large bronze artwork stolen in the county in five weeks.

Sometime Friday, a large statue of a buck (male) quail and its chick on skates was stolen from Davis Park, about 900 S. 2000 East, according to the Salt Lake City Arts Council. Roni Thomas, public arts program manager for Salt Lake City, has contacted local metal recyclers in the hope that someone will recognize the sculpture so it can be returned safely.

The statue, Skating to Fly, is only the latest heist of bronze artwork after someone snatched 10 life-size bronze statues of children from an outdoor Sandy art gallery. The crime spree began the last weekend of October with the theft of a statue of a boy from outside the Hill Gallery & Sculpture Park entrance, 9045 S. 1300 East.

Gallery owner Dan Hill, who is also the son of the sculptor, suspects the same thief returned for nine more. Sometime on the night of Nov. 24 or early Nov. 25, someone sliced through the heavy-gauge chain that secures the gallery's wrought iron gate, cut the chains and padlocks that secured Hill's sculptures, pried several of them off the sandstone boulders to which they were anchored, and made off with them. Hill believes the thief must have had help moving the pieces into a large truck or trailer, since they weighed from 60 to 150 pounds.

Hill believes that whoever took the sculptures intended to reduce them to scrap metal and sell the scrap to metal recyclers. Sandy police have notified local metal recyclers to be on the lookout for the stolen art, and are in touch with Salt Lake City police about each other's thefts, said Sgt. Jon Arnold.

The statues from the Sandy art gallery are valued at more than $70,000. Once turned to scrap, they would be worth only about 99 cents per pound, Hill said.

Anyone with information about the Sandy thefts is asked to call Hill at 801-562-9242 or the Sandy City Police Department at 801-568-7200, with the case number 12E010915.

mmcfall@sltrib.com