SALT LAKE CITY — A man has been sentenced to prison in the theft of an 800-pound bronze statue of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young.
While two others involved in the theft were ordered in January to complete three years of probation after admitting to stealing the statue, Larry Forness, 53, failed to appear for the sentencing hearing. He was taken into custody in early March, court documents state.
Forness, who pleaded guilty to theft, a second-degree felony, was sentenced March 26 to one to 15 years in prison.
The trio intended to cut the $125,000 statue and sell the pieces as scrap metal, charging documents state.
The three were each originally charged with theft, a first-degree felony. Potential prison terms were suspended for William Ford, 48, and Jacob Ferguson, 41, who pleaded guilty to the same second-felony charge as Forness.15 comments on this story
Early on May 23, the statue of the two early leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sitting on a bench was stolen from the Northgate Business Park, 825 N. 300 West.
Surveillance video showed four people get out of an SUV with a flatbed trailer. A woman questioned by police said once she realized what the group's intention, she got back in the SUV and refused to take part. Surveillance video appeared to confirm that and she was not charged.
After the video was released, police received a tip that the trailer was parked in front of a Sandy home, charges state. The statue was found in the garage undamaged.