By Trey Granger on May 28, 2009

Missing British Sculpture Suspected as Scrap Metal Sale

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British police have found evidence showing that a $4.6 million sculpture that has been missing for four years was likely cut up and sold for scrap metal. It’s estimated the material would be worth about $2,300 if still in-tact.

The piece in question was stolen from the estate of sculptor Henry Moore in 2005. It weighed two tons, and police believe it was shipped abroad to China after being dismantled.

Moore's sculpture may have been melted down and shipping abroad. Photo: Henry Moore Foundation/Guardian.co.uk

Moore's sculpture may have been melted down and shipped abroad. Photo: Henry Moore Foundation/Guardian.co.uk

Moore’s foundation offered £10,000 as a reward for its safe return, six times more than its scrap metal value. The foundation increased security of Moore’s sculptures as a result of the theft, which yielded no arrests.

The Public Monuments and Sculpture Association claim that public sculpture theft is up 500 percent in the last three years

In the U.S., values for recycling metal have dropped considerably since there is less demand for construction materials, which are largely comprised of steel. But selling stolen scrap metal is still a source of income, to the point that Oregon is cracking down on metal theft with its bill that aims to prevent metal theft in the state by requiring that buyers pay by check and keep records of all metal sales.

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