9 bronze statues missing from Sandy art gallery

Posted at 5:51 PM, Nov 28, 2012
and last updated 2012-11-29 00:48:38-05

SANDY, Utah - Police need your help to find thieves who stole 9 life-size bronze sculptures from a Sandy art gallery. They’re not only worth $70,000 retail, the artist’s son says there’s a deep personal connection and he wants the public’s help.

The crime happened over the weekend at Hill Gallery and Sculpture Park at 9045 South 1300 East.

Despite padlocks and chains, the thieves managed to get into a courtyard just outside the business where the statues were chained together.

“They cut a link out of a chain with some bolt cutters to gain access into the park,” said owner Dan Hill.

With that tool they nabbed the sculptures.

“It took a couple individuals to get that taken out of here. They obviously didn’t steal the turtle which weighs about 500 pounds but they had to work pretty hard to get the ones that were in here because they were chained to each other,” said Hill.

The sculptures were anchored to sandstone boulders.

“The smallest sculpture was a little boy holding a fish and it was sitting on this and it was bolted. It was based on my youngest son”

Each sculpture is worth thousands of dollars plus their sentimental value.

“These are made by family members so they have an emotional connection for this family,” said Sgt. Jon Arnold.

Hill’s father, Dan Hill, Sr., is the artist and has a knack for capturing children at play and their expressions. Many of the statues are commissioned by families across the country and each one has a story to tell. Since one sculpture was stolen outside the business three weeks ago, Hill wonders if the same thieves struck again.

“Maybe they thought, 'That was easy, we’ll come back and get some more,’" said Hill.

The art gallery owner and police believe the robbers may try to sell the statues as scrap metal.

“They don’t melt it, what they usually do is cut it up into pieces and so you would sell some here, some there,” said Sgt. Arnold.

Hill added, “(They) take it to a metal recycler and get paid 99 cents a pound or whatever the going rate is.”

Sandy Police have alerted local metal recyclers to be on the lookout for these sculptures.

Cops have also dusted the gate and locks for fingerprints but so far no leads and with no surveillance video, investigators are relying on the public to be on the lookout.

If you can help lead police to these thieves, please call 801-568-7200