Price on head of missing sculpture

RHONDA MARKBY
Last updated 05:00 05/12/2012
gordon tait bust
JOHN BISSET/ Fairfax NZ
MISSING ADMIRAL: Timaru District Council’s parks and recreation manager Bill Steans with the plinth where a bronze bust of Sir Gordon Tait stood until it was stolen.

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There's no sign of Sir Gordon, but there is now a price on his head.

The 35kg bronze bust of Sir Gordon Tait was wrenched off its bluestone plinth outside the Timaru library overnight on Saturday, and there is now a $1000 reward being offered for information leading to the prosecution of the person or persons responsible for the theft of the bust.

The Timaru District Council is offering the reward as the bust, worth between $15,000 and $20,000, was gifted to the council a year ago by the Hervy Arts Trust.

Council parks and recreation manager Bill Steans said the council's main priority was to get the bust back. Since December 17 last year it had sat on a plinth metres away from a bust of Lord Samuel Elworthy.

Mr Steans said police had viewed footage from a security camera but unfortunately it had not been pointing at the library when the damage was done. Police have also contacted local scrap metal dealers in case the offenders attempted to get rid of the bust that way. Mr Steans said it was worth only around $100 as scrap.

Mr Steans still believes the most likely options were that the bust was put in a vehicle and was probably now sitting on a mantelpiece, or, if the thieves were on foot, it could have been dumped somewhere because it would have been heavy to carry. Mr Steans said while staff had checked the gardens around the library it was difficult to know where else to look.

The council offered a similar reward this year when the head was stolen off the Robbie Burns statue in the Timaru Botanical Gardens. It was found at Patiti Point but the rewards was never claimed as no-one has been charged over the incident.

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- The Timaru Herald

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