SALT LAKE CITY — Two men were ordered Monday to complete three years of probation after admitting to stealing an 800-pound bronze statue of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young.
Potential prison terms were suspended Monday for William Ford, 47, and Jacob Ferguson, 41, who were each sentenced instead to probation. The two men pleaded guilty to theft, a second-degree felony.
A $5,000 warrant was issued for Larry Forness, 52, who also pleaded guilty in the scheme but failed to appear for the sentencing hearing.
The three men were each originally charged with theft, a first-degree felony. The trio intended to "cut the statue up and (sell) the pieces as scrap metal," according to charging documents.
Early on the morning of May 23, the statue of the two early LDS Church leaders sitting together on a park bench, worth an estimated $125,000, was stolen from the back dock area of the Northgate Business Park, 825 N. 300 West.7 comments on this story
Business surveillance video showed an SUV with a flatbed trailer pull up and four people get out. A woman later questioned by police said once she realized what the group intended to do, she got back in the SUV and refused to participate. Surveillance video seemed to confirm that, according to charging documents, and the woman was not charged.
The other three somehow managed to lift the heavy statue onto the trailer.
After the video was released publicly, police received a tip that a trailer matching that description was parked in front of a residence in Sandy, the charges state.
The statue — which had been commissioned by the Young Fine Arts Studio, with plans to be sent to Nauvoo, Illinois — was found in the garage undamaged.