Metal Sculpture Theft Epidemic in the UK… And NY?

12.26.11 Marina Galperina

An increasing number of UK’s metal public art works are undergoing a magical transmutation, like in the curious case of Lonon Park’s $780,000 Two Forms (Divided Circle) by Dame Barbara Hepworth. It’s getting melted down into $1K worth of scrap metal somewhere. Magic!

A recent highlight of this crime wave: The theft of a shiny metal rhino in Scarborough, North Yorkshire. A statue of a social reformer was stolen from South East London. A reclining Henry Moore was hauled out of Hertfordshire. Church metal thefts have increased five-fold in Wales.

As the price of brass, aluminum, copper, and lead goes up, so do the thefts. But wait, what’s this: Days ago, suspected scrap metal hunters have absconded with 180 storm and sewer hole grates in Rochester, New York. Better start re-bolting down the art.