2 accused of scrapping 1,200 pound statue

Dec. 17, 2008 at 12:09 PM

READING, Pa., Dec. 17 (UPI) -- Pennsylvania police said they arrested two men suspected of stealing a brass angel statue, cutting it up and selling the pieces as scrap.

John Hammond Jr. and Jamie Lee Custer, both 31, were charged by State Police at the Reading barracks with the Sept. 24 theft of the 1,200-pound Angel of the Roses that once stood atop a pedestal at the National Center for Padre Pio in Berks County, the Philadelphia Enquirer reported Wednesday.

The duo allegedly took the 8-foot-tall statue, which police valued at between $60,000 and $100,000, and sold the cut-up pieces as scrap for a profit of $952.

The statue was cast during the 1930s and once greeted visitors to a public building in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The founder of the Padre Pio Centre, Vera Calandra, purchased the statue for $26,000 in 1999.

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