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Pieces of 9 sculptures stolen over Thanksgiving weekend recovered

Published: Sunday, Aug. 2 2015 10:39 p.m. MDT

SANDY — Police have recovered several hundred pounds worth of bronze pieces that once made up nine life-size sculptures stolen over Thanksgiving weekend.

The effort to find the person or people responsible continued Wednesday.

The statutes were taken from the Hill Gallery & Sculpture Park inside the Canyon Ridge Center, 9045 S. 1300 East. Each weighed up to 100 pounds and are about the size of a 5-year-old child. Most of the sculptures were, in fact, of children.

Investigators believe the sculptures were chopped up and taken to a small metal recycle business. The smaller scrap yard then sold the materials to a larger recycling yard, said Sandy Police Sgt. Jon Arnold.

Workers at the larger yard, however, saw that the bronze metal they had just purchased included sculpted hands and fingers, Arnold said. They recalled a bulletin Sandy police had distributed to metal recycling businesses and called detectives.

Investigators collected two names from the smaller scrap yard of people who might have sold them the materials. One of them was contacted by police and cleared, Arnold said. Detectives were still looking for the second Wednesday.

Investigators were also going through the business' records and surveillance video and trying to determine whether the smaller scrap yard followed proper procedure when employees purchased the bronze statues.

There have been at least 11 reported bronze sculpture thefts in recent weeks. The most recent was over the weekend in Salt Lake City when a 100-pound bronze statue of a quail was taken from Davis Park, near 900 South and 2000 East.

It was found four days later under a tree in the backyard of a residence near the park. That house was the site of a party that involved alcohol the night the sculpture disappeared, said Salt Lake police detective Dennis McGowan.

A 23-year-old man was arrested in connection with the statue's disappearance, McGowan said. The incident was not believed to be connected to the other recent thefts.

Anyone with information on any of the recent bronze sculpture thefts can call police at 801-840-4000.

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