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Work to repair and replace items from Denver's Martin Luther King Jr. monument to begin right away

Work to repair and replace items from MLK monument to begin right away
Work to repair and replace items from MLK monument to begin right away 03:27

Work will start right away to repair and replace the items stolen from Denver's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. "I Have a Dream" monument in Denver's City Park

Artist Ed Dwight is looking at the extensive damage to pieces ripped away from it by thieves and planning repairs. 

Police say the thieves hit the MLK Monument as well as the Thatcher Fountain nearby on Feb. 21.

"We have to replicate that all the way down," said Dwight about welding and duplicating the damaged areas of a large panel that was cut into four pieces.  "And then we'll work on the next one and the next one and the next one."


Denver Police Department's Bias-motivated Crime Unit has been involved in the case but indicated that there is no indication it was a bias-motivated crime. 

"Certainly I think it's a reasonable suspicion that there was some racial motivation to that. It does appear it was not the motivation. But we can't be sure of that just yet," explained Denver Police Chief Ron Thomas, saying they will need to question the suspects in the case. 

"There is a lot of historical and cultural significance to that particular monument. And really shame on them for not understanding that recognizing that and deciding to steal a piece of it," said Thomas. 

There are two still on the loose. 67-year-old Herman Duran and a yet-to-be-identified man police say is pictured in images from a security camera.

"All of these trends should stop. And we who care about America and about American heroes and about progress of our city and our state and our nation should not have these kinds of acts going on now," said former Denver First Lady and State Rep. Wilma Webb. 


It was during her husband's administration that Wilma Webb was the driving force behind the creation of the monument, which was commissioned to Ed Dwight, a renowned sculptor of African American history whose past includes years in NASA's astronaut training program in the 1960s. 

Dwight believed it was stolen for the value of its bronze early on in the investigation. 

RELATED: Sculptor Ed Dwight among honorees at MLK Jr. business awards in Denver

On Wednesday he said what is currently most important is not motive, but getting it put back together which could take two months or more. 

"The fact of the matter is, it doesn't make any difference. Whether it was racially motivated or for the value. Whatever is done is done… if we can prove that it was done for racial reasons, then we can raise hell and raise more consciousness," said Dwight.


RELATED: Items stolen from Martin Luther King Jr. monument in Denver have been recovered, police say

For the time being he is focusing on how to accomplish repairs. The largest plate, showing early representations of African American history, including slavery and service in America's conflicts, has to be secured better when it is replaced he says. It will take careful welding and planning to get the job done.

There is an online fundraising campaign to raise money to help in the work and to add security around the monument. 

About $10,000 has been raised so far, but former mayor Wellington Webb pointed out that adding cameras is likely to cost more. 

How items stolen from Martin Luther King Jr. monument in Denver were recovered 01:59
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