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Stolen from downtown: 400-pound bronze human … statue

In a city grappling with a crime problem, this is one of the more unusual—and brazen—examples of lawlessness: a 400-pound, life-size bronze humanoid statue has been stolen from the downtown levee bench to which it was bolted.

The statue, on loan to the Arts Council of Baton Rouge, was one of 22 pieces that comprised a traveling exhibit. The pieces were installed nearly a year ago in various places along the downtown levee, some sitting, some standing, which is why Arts Council Executive Director Renee Chatelain says the theft was not discovered until recently—even though it is now believed to have occurred sometime between mid-March and mid-April.

“They are spread around and we would monitor them,” Chatelain says. “But we didn’t count them every day.”

The exhibit, originally created for the United Nations Plaza in New York, has traveled around the world and each statue is worth about $60,000. Chatelain says she is heartsick that Baton Rouge would be responsible for losing one to theft, and she is hoping that someone took it as a prank.

“It makes me sad to my core,” she says. “I want us to be our best selves. We are hoping for a recovery or else we’ll have to make a replacement.”

The Arts Council has teamed up with Crime Stoppers to help publicize the theft and also to incentivize anyone with information to come forward. Chatelain could not say how big a reward Crime Stoppers will offer but is hoping any amount will make it easier to get the missing statue back.

“We want Baton Rouge to be able to respect public art and embrace it so we want their help,” she says. “I don’t want Baton Rouge to be the city where something like this occurs.

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