Man Steals $65,000 Sculpture For Scrap Metal

(Memphis) A man is in jail, accused of stealing a statue worth $65,000.

Police say Wayne Barnes cut it up to sell it as scrap metal.

Police recovered most of the pieces at a West Memphis recycling center.

The owner of the art studio where the sculpture was stolen from is baffled by the whole thing.

When the sculpture was whole, it weighed more than 300 pounds.

Jin Powell says the thief somehow snatched the sculpture from behind three locked gates and freed it from chains.

“It’s not a small chain,” said Powell, who owns 2JS Studio on Scott Street.

Police say Barnes stole the piece of art, chopped it up, and sold most of it to a scrap yard in West Memphis.

“Very sad for the damage. He only got under $300 at the junk yard,” said Powell.

While Barnes only got $300 dollars for the bronze, the sculpture is worth $65,000.

When it was whole, it was a piece of art called “The Acrobat,” and was sculpted by nationally renowned artist Ted Rust, who died in 2010.

“His pieces are all over the United States – Washington DC, New York, Dallas, everywhere. He is really famous.”

Jin had the art in her studio to fix a broken part on it. Now she has a much bigger fixer-upper job to do.

She’s still waiting for police to drop off five other bronze pieces officers say they found in Barnes’ pick-up truck.

“Do do you know Barnes?” asked reporter Sabrina Hall.

“No but it looks like he is around this area,” said Jin.

Jin says she’s glad he is in jail, but would love to know how he got away with “The Acrobat” in the first place.

“Both sides of the gates are locked. He only broke one gate’s lock. I have no idea how he got in and got out.”

Barnes is charged with theft over $60,000 and vandalism. He’s being held on a $30,000 bond.

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