Thieves make off with library sculptures worth $15K
BY DAN MORAN firstname.lastname@example.org June 8, 2012 9:08PM
Two bronze statues were stolen from the Waukegan Public Library courtyard. A girl playing soccer titled Image That and a boy reading a book titled Little Scholar. | Thomas Delany Jr.~Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 8, 2012 3:09AM
WAUKEGAN — Scrapper thieves struck at the heart of the Waukegan Public Library, ripping out two bronze statues that were bought by library patrons and displayed in the facility’s County Street courtyard.
“The sad thing is these were purchased by people in honor of somebody,” Elizabeth Stearns, assistant director of community services, said Friday. “Maybe they just think they’re stealing metal, but they’re not.”
On or around the night of May 31, the thieves chipped away at the fieldstone base for the two statues, which were bolted into concrete atop the stone.
Taken were “Little Scholar” by Jane Rankin of Monument, Colo., which portrays a boy reading a book while propped up on his knees and elbows, and “Imagine That” by Kathy Anderson of Littleton, Colo., which shows a girl reading a book while sitting atop a stack of books next to a soccer ball.
The two pieces were among 11 statues placed around the courtyard since the Waukegan Library Foundation launched a project called “Art of a Story” in 2000. Each piece was sponsored by private funds, and remaining sculptures include “Literary Scot,” a Scottish terrier perched on a stone bench, and “Egghead,” a Humpty Dumpty likeness that sits on the courtyard’s south wall.
According to Stearns, the family of former librarian Elvera Lake purchased “Imagine That” for $9,585, while former library board member Elmer Stone paid $5,500 to sponsor “Little Scholar.” Both Lake and Stone have passed away in recent years.
“Elmer and his wife, Steffi, bought it in honor of their children and grandchildren,” Stearns said. “Elmer was part of our family.”
Both pieces are insured, but Stearns said library officials are hoping to recover the originals.
She added that “we called all the scrap yards in the area to tell them what they look like, and we’re hoping they won’t take them.”
Waukegan Police Cmdr. Gabe Guzman said Friday that an investigation into the thefts is ongoing.