(WMC-TV) – A huge sculpture seen by many in Overton Park was stolen from the studio in which it was taken to for repairs. The fence, heavy chain locks, and orange tarp covering the statue did not stop a thief from claiming it as his own.
The sculpture, called "The Acrobat," was made by the former Memphis College of Art Director Ted Rust. His sculptures can be seen throughout the city. But one of them is missing.
John Powell runs 2Js Studio, which creates art and also repairs it.
"During the ice storm, this tree limb came down," Powell pointed out. "Hit the sculpture, tore it up a little bit ... We'd just gotten the piece repaired."
In order to sandblast the sculpture, the studio had to put it in its yard, which is located beneath Poplar Avenue on Scott Street.
"We've had cars crash. We've had people run off the bridge, but we've never had anybody just absolutely do something so bold," said Powell.
Inside a locked fence, under two heavy chain locks, and beneath an orange tarp was where the sculpture was being stored. Until...
"It was missing," explained Powell. "Just couldn't believe it. Dumbfounded that anybody would do something like this."
The thief stole the whole statue, which weighed 350 pounds and was four feet by three feet in size.
"It's not like it's going to just fit anywhere," he said. "What the fear is, is anybody would even think about scrapping this piece out. That's that's what scares us to death."
John's wife, Jin, is a sculptress.
"You know, we don't have children. My art is my children, so that's like stealing your children from you," she said.
Memphis police are investigating and 2Js Studio is ready to break the bank to reverse the theft that has broken their hearts.
"There is a $3,500 reward. Just return it," said Powell. "That's all we need."
If you have any information that can help the Powells find the missing sculpture, please call 901-461-3740.