Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Early Bird Shopper Found On Shelf Road

Thieves relocated Arcade Plaza statue to Shelf Road ledge

By Bret Bradigan
After its mysterious theft over New Year’s weekend, the “Early Bird Shopper” statue was found on a scenic perch high above the Ojai Valley.
The painted bronze statue was recovered on Sunday about 300 yards above the Shelf Road Trail after earlier being discovered by hikers John and Christine Burgess of Ojai. Officer Shawn Lindstrom, aided by the Burgesses and Scott Lowry and Jared Owens, lugged the 70-pound piece of art down from the ledge where an enterprising thief had glued it into place. The group then had to cover another half-mile to reach the trailhead.
Ojai Police Sgt. Joe Evans said the thief or thieves “knew exactly what they were doing.” The statue “is in good condition and going back to the city of Ojai.”
The sculptor, Ojai artist Sylvia Raz, said, “I can’t tell you how happy I am.” She said that Ojai redevelopment director Kathy McCann had asked her to “think about replacing it.” Raz was reluctant, even though she still had the mold for the bronze casting, recalling a family story. “My son never agreed for us to replace his dog when it died, saying that some things could not be replaced.”
McCann said the city had to devise a better way to secure the statue before returning it to its roost at the entrance to the Ojai Arcade Plaza. “It’s too risky not to do a good job.”
The police are still searching for suspects. Police Chief Bruce Norris encouraged anyone with information to call the station at 646-1414. “We’re still interested,” he said. “We still want to solve this case.”
A reward of up to $5,000 is offered through the Crimestoppers Program, said Norris. That phone number is (800) 222-TIPS (8477).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Early Bird's new roost reflects the true heart of Ojai, Nature. People come to Ojai to get away from mindless consumption, to get back to their heart, to experience nature. Let the Bird be free. What a beautiful view she had, truely blessing Ojai from above!