PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

March 6, 2014

PA Library statue recovered at recycle business

Mary Meaux
The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR — A valuable bronze sculpture stolen from the Port Arthur Public Library last week has been found, but not in one piece.

In fact, the $120,000 sculpture is so damaged that it bears little resemblance to the stylized man, woman and two children depicted by Beaumont sculptor David Cargill.

The original work entitled “The Family,” was stolen last week from its longtime spot in front of the library, where it had welcomed readers for the past 33 years.

Thieves had used some type of cutting torch to separate the sculpture from its base before taking it from the library grounds between closing last Wednesday and opening hours Thursday.

Port Arthur Police Detectives located the sculpture at a metal recycling facility in Liberty on Tuesday, where it had been cut into pieces and sold for salvage.

PAPD Maj. Raymond Clark said the majority of the sculpture has been recovered, and is back at the library.

“Of course we are sad because of what happened; unfortunately it was not recovered all in one part,” Library Director Jose Martinez, said Thursday.

Martinez said he is not sure if “The Family” can be put back together, but was not going to rule out the possibility, especially since so many have been interested in the case.

“We have had a lot of people showing concern and anger toward something that, especially since it was part of the city for 33 years,” Martinez said.  

Detectives have developed a suspect and will follow up on the crime which is a second degree felony, Clark said.

An anonymous Port Arthur resident offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever took the statue. The reward is now null because police recovered the stolen property.

“The Family” was gifted in 1981 to the library by Friends of Port Arthur Public Library in honor of library director Lucy Stiefel.

E-mail: mmeaux@panews.com

Twiitter: marymeauxPANews