Vermont, R.I. sculpture thefts might be linked

Vermont, R.I. sculpture thefts might be linked

By PATRICK McARDLE STAFF WRITER – Published: May 26, 2010

DORSET — A second edition of a Rhode Island artist’s bronze sculpture of a woman is missing from a local home and is believed to have been taken around the same time as an edition was taken from outside a Rhode Island arts center in March.

State Trooper Timothy Newton is investigating the disappearance of the sculpture, “Embrace of Life II,” from outside a home on Danby Mountain Road.

Another copy of the sculpture was taken from outside the Four Corners Arts Center in Tiverton, R.I., in early March.

According to the website of Narragansett, R.I., artist Mimi Sammis, there are five copies of the sculpture, which was created in 1999.

Newton said Tuesday that police have no reason to believe that thieves are targeting that particular sculpture although he added that “anything’s possible.”

Owner Sheila Frantz reported the disappearance of the Dorset sculpture to police on Monday.

Newton said there were some challenges in the investigation. Because Frantz isn’t a full-time resident, she could only narrow down when the sculpture went missing to sometime in March or April.

The sculpture, which Sammis sells for $30,000, was outside but not visible from the road so Newton said police are trying to establish who might have known it was there.

A connection between the thefts in Rhode Island and Vermont seems unlikely. The site of the Tiverton theft is more than 200 miles southeast from Dorset.

The Herald News of Fall River, Mass., reported that police arrested two men who they believed stole the 300-pound sculpture a few days after it was reported missing.

The two men, James MacNaught, 31, of Tiverton, and Robert Coelho, 29, of Fall River, were arrested and charged with felony counts of receiving stolen property and conspiracy after police received a tip from a neighbor of MacNaught, who told police MacNaught was seen cutting apart the statue.

Police said they believed the men planned to cut up the statue and sell it for scrap metal.

At the time, police were hopeful they might recover the pieces and Sammis said she believed she might be able to weld the pieces back together.

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