NEW INFORMATION: Reward offered for information on stolen sculpture in Eau Claire

By: Joe Nelson Email
By: Joe Nelson Email

EAU CLAIRE, Wisc. (WEAU) - A $1,000 reward is now being offered for information on a stolen sculpture in Eau Claire.

The sculpture, called "Mother and Child" which features the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus, disappeared from its display near Stella Blues on Madison Street last month.

"Mother and Child" is made of hollow bronze and stands less than two feet tall and weighs less than 40 pounds.

If you have any information, call Eau Claire Police at 715-839-4982. You can also send a tip to TIP411 (text ECPD and the tip to 847411). Both can remain anonymous.

EAU CLAIRE, Wisc. (WEAU) - A downtown draw in Eau Claire just got a bit smaller. The third edition of the Eau Claire Sculpture Tour has gotten some unwanted attention on Madison Street.

A cast bronze sculpture of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus stood about two feet tall and weighs 40 pounds.

Police said it disappeared sometime between midnight at 3:00 a.m. on Saturday.

The sculpture was on display near Stella Blues on Madison Street for less than a month. It's called 'Mother and Child' sculpted by Cody Joseph Swanson who lives in Florence, Italy.

“(The tour is) a great way for people to see some unique art work,” Eau Claire Sculpture Tour board member James Hanke said.

“My fiance and I do enjoy (the tour), we take pictures of it every year,” Farrin Peterson said.

“It's gorgeous, it's really I think upgraded this downtown area. It's a necessity, but it is a jerk magnet as well,” Mark Mcelwain, who works at Retro Distortion on the same block as the sculpture location, said.

Police said surveillance video from Stella Blues was dark and rainy, and no suspects were visible.

“It's pretty shocking. I'm pretty surprised. It's disappointing. I can always cast another one, but I put a lot of work into that piece, so hopefully it's not melted down for scrap metal,” Swanson.

Both its Swanson and Hanke said the $13,000 bronze piece was secured at that location. The art was insured.

“All of the sculptures are welded onto their bases, and onto the foundations, so preventative measures are taken to ensure that people don't just walk off with them,” Hanke said.

“If it's going to be stolen, hopefully it's because someone wants to enjoy the piece I guess,” Swanson said.

“I guess this means I’m a sought after artist. I should be happy, I don't know.”

“I think that's just horrific and wrong and it's the baby Jesus, you're gonna pay for that, pal,” Mcelwain said.

The crime brings a maximum sentence of ten years in prison. Police say they have no leads, and are asking for the public's to call (715) 839-4982 with any information about the sculpture’s whereabouts.

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