Stolen bear statue found in bushes at community center
June 1, 2010
By JENNIFER JOHNSON email@example.com
A nearly 6-foot-tall Scottish-bear statue, missing from Park Ridge’s Centennial Park for a week, returned Saturday just as mysteriously as it had disappeared.
The statue, part of Rainbow Hospice and Palliative Care’s Promise of Park Ridge 2010 public art display, was removed from its base and stolen from the park’s playground area overnight between May 22 and May 23, according to police. But on Saturday the bear, wearing a painted teal, red and blue Scottish tartan, was discovered in some bushes on the grounds of the Park Ridge Community Center, said Jackie Mathews, special events coordinator of Rainbow Hospice.
This nearly 6-foot-tall Scottish bear statue, part of Rainbow Hospice’s Promise of Park Ridge public art display, was stolen from Centennial Park in Park Ridge recently.
(Photo courtesy of Rainbow Hospice)
The statue wasn’t there when the grounds were checked earlier, she said, but was spotted by a child who mentioned it to a member of the Park Ridge Art League, the group that helped paint many of the fiberglass animal statues that are part of the public art display and fund-raiser.
Mathews said everyone involved in the project is “grateful” the bear was returned, even if he did suffer some scrapes and scratches during his apparent bear-napping.
“He’s currently having some R-and-R at an Art League member’s home and is being repaired,” Mathews said. “Then he’s headed back out to the park.”
The theft made Rainbow Hospice consider removing statues from Centennial Park and placing some in local storefronts, instead, according to a press release the health-care provider issued late last week. But since the return of the Scottish bear Mathews said she would prefer the artwork remain at Centennial, where people can enjoy it.
“It’s our hope that these will stay in the park,” she said. “We want them to be accessible to the public.”
Though she could not say exactly how much the bear statue weighed, Mathews said it clearly would have taken a few people to move it.
About the time the bear was stolen a cougar statue displayed nearby was also ripped off its base, but was left on the ground, Park Ridge police said. Rainbow Hospice also reported that a miniature African-elephant statue, also at Centennial, was robbed of a purse and earrings.
The animal statues were installed in Centennial and two other parks just two weeks ago.