Police recover pieces of stolen Utah sculptures, make arrest in another heist
Crime • Parts of 10 art pieces stolen in Sandy discovered at recycling operation.
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Police believe they have determined the fate of at least some of the bronze sculptures stolen from a Sandy art gallery after they recovered several hundred pounds of metal chunks from a recycler.

Dan Hill, owner of the Hill Gallery & Sculpture Park, 9045 S. 1300 East, reported the theft of 10 bronze sculptures, weighing 60 to 150 pounds each, between the last weekend in October and Nov. 25. His father created the pieces, most of which depicted children at play.

On Wednesday, Sandy police were seeking a court order for the records of a local metal recycler who may have bought pieces of the sculptures.

A large metal recycling center received from a smaller operation fist-sized chunks of bronze, which employees recognized as pieces of the statues that police asked recyclers to watch for, said Sgt. Jon Arnold. Sandy police contacted the smaller recycler, but the businessman did not follow protocol when buying the metal and his information on the buyer was inaccurate.

The buyer purportedly didn't realize the information was wrong, Arnold said. So detectives are trying to get copies of the recycler's records so they can analyze them and, combined with surveillance footage, find their suspect.

Anyone with information about the Sandy thefts is asked to call Hill at 801-562-9242 or the Sandy City Police Department at 801-568-7200, citing case number 12E010915.

Meanwhile, Salt Lake City police have recovered a bronze statue of a quail and its chick on skates stolen from a Salt Lake City park near 900 S. 2000 East.

"I'm in shock. I thought that thing would have been long gone," said Roni Thomas, public arts program manager for Salt Lake City.

Tuesday night, detectives found the quail in a back yard a block away from the park after a neighbor looking over the fence recognized the art work under a pile of branches, said Salt Lake City police Lt. Dennis McGowan.

The resident told police there had been a party on Nov. 30 — the night the bird was stolen. He didn't have a lot of details, but knew of another person who may have been involved in stealing the bird, which has an estimated value of $15,000 to $20,000. One witness led to the next, and police ultimately arrested a 22-year-old Salt Lake City man for felony theft.

Thomas hoped the same person was responsible for the Sandy sculptures theft. But McGowan said there is no link between the young man accused of stealing the quail and the stolen child statues.

mmcfall@sltrib.com