A 10-foot-long steel crocodile sculpture has been stolen from the streets of St. Cloud, and its Twin Cities creator wants it back.
The 160-pound artwork had been parked downtown for the past 11 months at 8th Avenue S. and 1st Street as part of Sculpture Walk St. Cloud.
Its creator, Dale Lewis, of Hastings, said he and his wife went to retrieve the artwork on Saturday only to find it missing.
Police were notified this week, and they are reviewing surveillance video from the area in hopes of finding who is responsible.
Along with seeking the public's help in locating the piece aptly named "Crocodile," Lewis is offering a $2,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the steel stealer.
Lewis valued the sculpture at $6,500, which would make this case a felony.
The Sculpture Walk has been a yearlong outdoor exhibit in the city's historic downtown featuring six temporary large-scale pieces on loan and three permanent sculptures.
"Where do you hide a 10-foot stainless steel crocodile?" Lewis said.
He said the piece, made out of scrap electrical enclosure boxes with butter knife teeth, has its name written on the tail. It took him about six weeks to make.
Something like this has happened to Lewis before.
Mecca Page, a fine art representative who has Lewis as a client, said a four-foot-tall T-rex sculpture made by Lewis and displayed in Hastings in 2012 went missing for a couple of weeks. It was later found with a broken leg thrown in a ditch next to Hwy. 61.
Lewis describes himself on his website as an electrical technician and machinist who moved on to experiment with making mosaic sculptures. In 2010, he started making welded metal sculptures in what he called a "hobby [that] has become a full-time obsession."
St. Cloud police said that anyone with information about the theft is urged to call 1-320-345-4444.