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Police recover sculpture stolen in 2007

March 1, 2013 at 9:40 AM

CHICAGO, March 1 (UPI) -- Chicago police say a sting operation led to the recovery of a sculpture valued at $85,000 that was stolen in 2007 from a now-closed gallery.

The bronze work, "Ex Nihilo" (Out of Nothing), was found Feb. 14 at the home of a Chicago man who had put the piece up for sale, the Chicago Tribune reported Friday.

Frederick Hart, who died in 1999, created the sculpture from plaster used in a series of sculptures at the Washington National Cathedral.

At the time of the theft, the piece had been at the gallery on loan from Chase Art Cos.

Police said the artwork was found after a man in Chicago contacted an art dealer in Minnesota about selling the piece.

The dealer, who knew the sculpture was stolen, contacted police. An officer pretending to be an art appraiser went to the owner's home.

Police said the man had not been charged and was cooperating with investigators.

Hart is best known for "Three Soldiers," which is part of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington.

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