The Acrobat sculpture found in pieces, suspect arrested - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

The Acrobat sculpture found in pieces, suspect arrested

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The sculpture was stolen while being repaired at a studio in Memphis. The suspects were captured by police in Arkansas, but the sculpture is now in many little pieces. The sculpture was stolen while being repaired at a studio in Memphis. The suspects were captured by police in Arkansas, but the sculpture is now in many little pieces.
Memphis police officers arrested Wayne Barnes after they say he tried to scrap the bronze pieces at a scrap yard in Crittenden County, Ark., where 85 percent of the sculpture was recovered. Memphis police officers arrested Wayne Barnes after they say he tried to scrap the bronze pieces at a scrap yard in Crittenden County, Ark., where 85 percent of the sculpture was recovered.
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MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - The 350 pound sculpture, referred to as The Acrobat, is back with its rightful owners, but it is not in the same condition it was before it was stolen.

The sculpture was stolen while being repaired at a studio in Memphis. The suspects were captured by police in Arkansas, but the sculpture is now in many little pieces.

The Ted Rust sculpture is worth $65,000. It was damaged in a February ice storm and brought to 2Js Studio for repairs. There, it was placed outside, covered up, locked with chains, and stored behind three gates. Even still, someone stole The Acrobat.

"To take a valuable piece of art, of artwork, and just scrap it out ... that's insanity," said John Powell, 2Js Studio. "I'd like to find out how he was capable of carrying it out, because it weighed over 300 pounds."

Memphis police officers arrested Wayne Barnes after they say he tried to scrap the bronze pieces at a scrap yard in Crittenden County, Ark., where 85 percent of the sculpture was recovered. The rest of the sculpture was found in the back of his pickup truck.

A $3,500 reward was offered for the return of the sculpture, no questions would be asked. But instead, police say Barnes tried to scrap the statue for $352.17.

"Some people just don't have the knowledge for the sculpture world," said Powell. "And for just scrap metal, for the little money. Just very sad."

Now artists John and Jin Powell are working to put The Acrobat back together again, using the only known photo of the piece.

"Like every piece of artwork, everything has a story and this is just going to add more intrigue to this story," said Powell.

It's a difficult project that will cost around $15,000 and likely take about six weeks.

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