Experts who have seen photographs of the damaged “Hiker” statue vandalized on Memorial Boulevard last weekend have told city officials that fixing it will be costly.
One foundry said it will “take many hours” and a lot of work to repair the damage to the historic statue dedicated to the veterans of World War II, said Park Director Ed Swicklas.
Swicklas said that the bronze statue was removed from its base Tuesday and put into storage until the city decides where to send it for repairs. It was held on by only four bolts, he said, and wasn’t hard to take off.
While police continue to probe the vandalism discovered Saturday morning, state Sen. Tom Colapietro, a Bristol Democrat, said that catching metal thieves may be a lot easier because of new legislation he championed this year.
Colapietro, who represents the 31st District, called the mauling of the statue “disgusting” and expressed hope that police would soon catch the culprits.
The Park Board is likely to discuss the vandalism during its 6 p.m. meeting tonight at City Hall.
Swicklas has sent photographs of the statue to at least two foundries that could be asked to repair the damage. The tab is likely to be more than $15,000 – perhaps much more.
Though it isn’t clear whether the statue was damaged as a prank or if thieves had planned to steal it for scrap metal, Colapietro said a new law he pushed at the request of a Bristol detective should help police trying to keep up with criminals who are taking metals all over the state.
The senator said that thieves have snatched drain pipes off a Cheshire church, plaques off of graves and more.
"They're stealing anything that weighs anything," Colapietro said, even beer kegs, which are worth about $50 after they've been chopped up for the metal.
To combat the problem, the law that Colapietro championed requires scrap dealers to take pictures of the license plates of anyone bringing in metal to sell and to record what they brought.
The legislation requires scrap metal processors to record certain information for all loads of scrap metal purchased or received, including a description, the weight, the price paid for the load and the identification of the person who delivered the load.
It requires scrap metal processors, junk dealers or junkyard owners to immediately notify their municipal law enforcement of the name, if known, and motor vehicle license plate, if available, of any person offering to sell a bronze statue, plaque, historical marker, cannon, cannon ball, bell, lamp, lighting fixture, lamp post, architectural artifact or similar item.
"That makes it a lot easier to catch" those swiping the material, the senator said.
It should also slow the number of thefts, he said.
"If you can't sell it, there's no sense stealing it," Colapietro said.
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