BATON ROUGE, La. — A tip called into Crimestoppers has led to the recovery of a life-size statue stolen from the downtown area of Louisiana's capital city.
Baton Rouge Police say it was found in a parking lot not far from where it disappeared.
In a news release, Sgt. Don Coppola Jr. said investigators believe the 400-pound (180-kilogram) statue — worth about $60,000 — was removed from a downtown bench near the Mississippi River levee sometime between mid-March and mid-April. It was part of a public art installation called "Borders" that included 22 sculptures by an Icelandic artist intended to celebrate unity. It arrived in Baton Rouge last year.
Workers removing the pieces in July for transport to the Meadows Museum of Art at Centenary College in Shreveport discovered the missing work and notified authorities.
The Advocate reports the statues in the exhibit are aluminum and iron androgynous human forms that were situated along the levee, some sitting on benches and others standing or kneeling at various locations. The installation was first seen outside the United Nations headquarters in New York City and has since traveled to other cities including Dallas, Seattle and Chicago.
Renee Chatelain, president and CEO of the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge, said organizers were hoping the statue had been misplaced or relocated for routine levee maintenance, but after a month of searching they concluded it was stolen.
The statue was bolted to a bench, which was in turn bolted to the bike path, Chatelain said. The thieves would have needed tools and a vehicle to remove it.
Steinunn Thorarinsdottir, the artist who created the work, said in an email to the newspaper Thursday that she was mystified that the sculpture had been taken.
She said it was bolted by professional installers.
"That and the fact that it's quite heavy, over 400 pounds, makes this whole thing even more incredible," she said.
Jonathan Grimes, director of Facilities and Season Programming at the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge, said he and two Baton Rouge Police officers loaded the statue into the back of his truck. He added that the piece would be picked up when Centenary College representatives come down to retrieve the other four remaining statues currently located on the dock at the Mississippi River levee.