Beloved ‘Oliver the bear’ sculpture stolen – again
The statue was first stolen in 2018, prompting a replacement to be installed. Now, that too has been taken.
Meadows Drive resident Judy Epstein was shocked to discover her beloved bronze bear sculpture had been stolen five years ago. She was just as dismayed to learn it was stolen for a second time last week.
The statue, named Oliver by Epstein’s granddaughter, features a bear drinking a cup of coffee and had been seen at the end of the driveway for nearly a decade.
Over the years, Oliver has become a neighborhood icon, with residents often dropping off bags of coffee during Christmas time or affixing masks to the statue throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
“Everyone knows Oliver,” Epstein said. “We had him custom-made because we wanted something whimsical, something that would draw attention. People started saying, ‘Our house is three past Oliver the bear.’”
The first bronze statue was stolen in Oct. 2018 and never recovered. Epstein and her husband commissioned an artist to create a replica. Oliver cost around $8,000 to replace, Epstein said, but it was worth it.
The family secured Oliver 2.0 to a large boulder using heavy bolts, rebar, adhesive and other protection. Nonetheless, it was stolen again.
“Not only is it an expense for me, but it’s a shame for the community,” Epstein said. “We would love to have a third, but we’re not going to.”
Epstein, whose son, Marc, is residing in the house as she’s in Florida, said she felt violated when she learned the statue had been taken for a second time.
A neighbor who looks forward to seeing Oliver on his way to work called Epstein to tell her the statue had been stolen, sometime around Jan. 20 or 21. Epstein said she’s heard from other Parkites who are also upset about the statue’s theft.
The bronze bear is between three and four feet tall and weighs about 60 pounds.
The Epsteins are offering a reward for Oliver’s return. The family has also been approached by several neighbors who said they would contribute to a fundraiser to create a third Oliver.
“I just thought that was saying it all because Oliver does belong to everybody, that’s why he was put there,” Epstein said. “We miss him. We would love to find him.”
Anyone with information about the statue’s whereabouts is asked to call Park City Police Dispatch at 435-615-5500.
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