SALT LAKE CITY — An 800-pound statue of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young chatting on a bench was found in good condition after being stolen early Tuesday, authorities said.
"After a long day of detective work, we're happy to report that the bronze statue has been recovered," Salt Lake police announced Tuesday evening via Twitter.
The department said the replica was intact and unharmed, but officers don't know why or how the thieves made off with it.
Police say four people in a white SUV hauling a flatbed trailer just before 4 a.m. pulled up to the statue near the parking lot of the Northgate Business Park, 825 N. 300 West, and somehow managed to get it onto the trailer.
Salt Lake police said surveillance video from the business shows three men and a woman were involved.
The $125,000 statue of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints leaders sitting on a park bench was commissioned by the Young Fine Arts Studio, with plans to be sent to Nauvoo, Illinois.
Police earlier Tuesday worried that whoever stole the sculpture would try to cut it down and sell it to a scrap metal yard.
An anonymous tip led officers to the statue, said Salt Lake police detective Robert Ungrich. Police aren't yet releasing names of suspects, Ungrich said, and don't know why the three people hauled it away.
Surveillance footage released by Ungrich's department fails to capture how the people loaded the sculpture onto the trailer.
— Pat Reavy, Annie Knox, Tanner Siegworth