Stolen sculpture found due to real estate advertisement
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.