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Examiner
  • Two arrested in theft of Pioneer Woman statue

  • Independence police have arrested two people in connection with the theft of the Pioneer Woman, the six-foot bronze statue that had stood at the National Frontier Trails Museum for 23 years.


    However, it appears that the statue has been destroyed.

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  • Independence police have arrested two people in connection with the theft of the Pioneer Woman, the six-foot bronze statue that had stood at the National Frontier Trails Museum for 23 years.
    However, it appears that the statue has been destroyed.
    Police said late today they have arrested two people but did not give details.
    Meanwhile, the manager of 12th Street Recycling in Kansas City, Heather Hobbs, said today that two men brought in scrap bronze that had been beaten and was “in pieces” and “unrecognizable” as a statue.
    When they brought it in Saturday morning, she said, her employees – who are trained in what to take and what not to take – had questions.
    “We refused to purchase the material,” not knowing for sure what it was, she said.
    The men, who stood to get $578 for what was a $35,000 statue in 1990, then left, she said.
    Kansas City has an ordinance against scrap dealers buying such artwork, and Hobbs said her company wouldn’t have taken it in any event “because we don’t want this to happen, you know.”
    The statue was noticed missing on Monday, and when police put out the word, 12th Street Recycling contacted them with surveillance video. Independence police have released some stills from that video.
    The Trails Museum on Pacific Avenue a few blocks south of the Square, tells the story of the westward trails – the Santa Fe, the Oregon and the California – that started in or passed through Independence, making the city the major jumping-off point for pioneers in the decades before the Civil War. The museum is in what once was the Waggoner-Gates Mill, near where the Santa Fe trail passed as it went generally southwest from the Square.
    The statue – a woman holding a small baby and carrying a bucket – symbolized the spirit and fortitude of the women in those families headed west, and it came also to recognize women who have broken modern barriers, such as City Council Member Millie Nesbitt, who worked hard to raise money for the museum, and Barbara Potts, the city’s first female mayor, who was in office when the museum opened.
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