Sculpture stolen from Whitehorse building

Posted: Tuesday, September 18, 2007

WHITEHORSE, Yukon Territory - A moose antler sculpture, valued at $50,000 in Canadian currency and three years in the making, has been stolen from the Canada Games Centre.

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"It was a gift to the people of the Yukon," local artist Shane Wilson, who donated the piece to the city, said Monday.

Wilson, who's out of town, learned of the theft Monday after his wife heard about it on the radio.

"I was really deeply saddened by the news," Wilson said, describing it as a piece he intended to be a legacy for the community.

At the same time, he noted the theft is a bit of a strange and unwanted compliment, given that thieves took nothing else from the sports complex.

"To be honest, I was shocked," he said.

The shoulder-high carving is about as wide as a person standing with both arms outstretched.

Linda Rapp, city parks and recreation manager, said the break-in likely happened between 4 and 5 a.m. Saturday when a city worker was inside the mechanical room resetting various controls after a lengthy power failure.

Though the building was locked, the alarm system had been turned off because of staff moving through the center.

When more staff members arrived at the complex later Saturday morning, they discovered a section of glass to the right side of the inside door had been broken and the moose antler sculpture on the second floor had been taken.

It's unknown how much it will cost to replace the glass.

"It wasn't an act of vandalism," Rapp said, pointing out there was no other damage to the building and nothing else was stolen.

While $50,000 is the monetary value for the piece, Rapp described it as "priceless."

Both Rapp and Mayor Bev Buckway said in separate interviews the city will review its safety procedures and look at ways to prevent such a theft from happening again.

"It's pretty disgusting we have this happening," Buckway said, also pointing out it was a targeted theft. "It's just horrible."

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