Park City police probe disappearance of expensive bronze bear
October 10, 2018
Judy Epstein has lived on Meadows Drive for 12 years and, for the last decade, a bronze sculpture of a bear holding a coffee mug has sat at the end of the driveway.
"Oliver," as the family calls the artwork, was a fixture in the immediate neighborhood. Someone around Christmastime each year leaves a pound of coffee near the sculpture's mug, she said.
The sculpture disappeared in early October, a suspected theft that has thus far stumped the Park City Police Department and left Epstein unhappy that the piece is missing. It was attached to a rock with rebar.
The 4-foot-tall sculpture, weighing approximately 80 pounds, was a visible part of the streetscape, Epstein said. Some in the neighborhood saw it as an icon, she said.
"If you drove up Meadows Drive, you can't miss it," Epstein said, adding, "I was devastated. I was, like, so sad."
Epstein said she initially was concerned the sculpture disappeared as part of a prank. Or, someone could have taken the artwork to melt it down for the bronze, she said. The disappearance of the sculpture does not fit with the idea that Park City is a safe place, she said.
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"Crime can happen anywhere in the country. It's just not expected in Park City," she said.
The Police Department investigation continued early in the week. Jay Randall, a department sergeant, said there were no suspects by then. Randall said the owner saw the sculpture on a surveillance camera at 11:45 p.m. on Oct. 1. It was missing by 2:15 a.m. on Oct. 2, he said.
The Police Department asked a neighbor if they saw anything suspicious, but the person said they had not, Randall said.
Epstein indicated the artwork is valued at between $8,000 and $10,000.
The Police Department did not have leads early in the week. Anybody with information may contact the department at 615-5500.
Epstein said she would not press charges if the sculpture is returned undamaged.