Sculpture Thieves Seek Scrap Metal

Commodity prices driving thefts; more artists steering clear
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted May 1, 2008 4:39 PM CDT
Some sculpture thieves are more interested in statues' copper content than their artistic worth, police say.   (
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(Newser) – A wave of sculpture thefts has little to do with the pieces’ artistic merit: Police believe they’ve been stolen for their valuable copper content, the Wall Street Journal reports. In the past 18 months, three public artworks displayed in Brea, Calif., have disappeared—and the trend is appearing across the country, pushing some artists to consider dropping bronze as a medium.

An Arizona sculptor woke to find holes in his house’s walls, where his art was installed; a Vermont artist had 50 bronze pieces stolen last year. With copper now at $4 per pound and rising, up from $1.50 three years ago, authorities are looking into new security measures like hidden cameras or even thorny bushes around sculptures.