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Statues Stolen From Waukegan Library Were Melted Down At Scrapyard

WAUKEGAN, Ill. (CBS) -- Police say the theft of two bronze statues from the courtyard at the Waukegan Public Library has been solved, but the statues are gone.

As WBBM Newsradio's Mike Krauser reports, the statues, called "Little Scholar" and "Imagine That," were pried from their concrete perches in the courtyard of the library, at 128 N. County St. in Waukegan, two weeks ago.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio's Mike Krauser reports


Now, police say the statues will never be recovered, because they were both sold as scrap to J.B. Metals, at 2910 W. Carroll Ave. in Chicago's East Garfield Park neighborhood, for $268, the Daily Herald reports.

J.B. Metals melted the statues down, and they are gone forever, Waukegan Police Chief Daniel Greathouse says.

Representatives from that scrapyard flat out told the library, "The statues are gone."

The 75-pound statues depicting children reading were valued at $15,000 combined. A tip led to the alleged thief – Daniel Ramos, 30 – and police are expecting a second arrest.

The Daily Herald says Ramos told police that he and his accomplice saw the statues were loosely secured to their bases, and would not be hard to haul away. But library officials said the statues were actually cemented and bolted to the ground, the newspaper reported.
Waukegan Library assistant director of community services Elizabeth Stearns is quoted in the Daily Herald, "In our wildest dreams, we would not expect that a scrapyard would accept a piece of art as scrap metal."

"Little Scholar" depicted a little boy propped up on his elbows reading a book. It was created by Jane Rankin of Monument, Colo., and was donated to the library in 2000, the Daily Herald reports.

"Imagine That" shows a little girl sitting on a stack of books while reading. It was created by Kathy Anderson of Littleton, Colo., and was donated in 2003, the newspaper reports.

The library is contacting the sponsors of the statues to see how they can be replaced.

Meanwhile, Ramos is being held at the Lake County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bond. It appears that the scrapyard itself, at this point, is not being prosecuted.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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