Stolen sculp­ture found due to real es­tate advertisement

Central Leader - - NEWS -

The fu­ture of a sculp­ture found more than 300 kilo­me­tres away from where it was stolen a decade ago is be­ing pon­dered.

Ep­som Li­brary’s stain­less steel sculp­ture of a ris­ing phoenix dis­ap­peared in June 2004.

The two-me­tre-high art­work made by award win­ning sculp­tor Keith Simp­son was found last month in a house in Ran­gataua, near Ohakune.

An Auck­land res­i­dent helped solve the theft af­ter spot­ting the dis­tinc­tive sculp­ture, val­ued at more than $15,000, in pho­tos taken for an on­line real es­tate list­ing for the house, which was up for sale.

A search war­rant was is­sued and the sculp­ture was dis­cov­ered in a loft at the va­cant property.

Con­sta­ble Lane Dem­chy told po­lice mag­a­zine TenOne the sculp­ture had been tucked away in a rick­ety sleep­out that was ac­ces­si­ble only by a lad­der and through a man­hole.

‘‘‘It was one of the more un­usual jobs,’’ he says.

No charges have been laid over the theft.

Po­lice are try­ing to track down the own­ers of the home who now live in Aus­tralia, Mr Dem­chy says.

Ohakune po­lice plan to drive it back to Auck­land, coun­cil li­braries ser­vice de­liv­ery man­ager Cor­rina Meikle says.

A larger phoenix sculp­ture was in­stalled at the li­brary af­ter the theft. Auck­land Coun­cil is await­ing the sculp­ture’s re­turn and is con­sid­er­ing where the stolen work will be dis­played.

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