Archive for Wednesday, May 2, 2001

Statues returned to tore

May 2, 2001

The mystery of the come-and-go statues has been solved.

In late March, Bo Himpel, a VFW member who helps maintain the Reusch memorial VFW Park, reported that concrete statues had appeared at the memorial garden of Bud "Pappy" Shoemaker in the park.

Himpel had no idea who placed them there.

And the next week, when the statues disappeared, he had no idea who had taken them.

Neither did the Tonganoxie police.

But Rick Hamm, who works at DK's Statuary, soon found out.

The statuary business is located several miles north of Lawrence on U.S. Highway 24-40.

"We noticed some little things were missing over the course of several months," Hamm said. "At one point in time, a police officer contacted us and we went to Tonganoxie and identified one of our statues that had been found in a ditch."

In early April, Hamm returned to work after a vacation and found 16 statues left outside a gate.

"Attached to one of the statues was a note that said, 'My friends took these statues and I wanted to right a wrong God bless,'" Hamm said.

He was happy to see the statues.

"We were really surprised that they came home," Hamm said. "It does restore a little bit of faith in the fact that there are some honest people out there."

But the theft of the statues that made their way to and from Tonganoxie reflects a growing concern for the business, Hamm said.

"It has become a problem such that we've had estimates on putting in a six-foot-tall fence with barbed wire on top of it," Hamm said. "We really hate to do it because it destroys the character of the barn. It's not what we wanted to do, but we can't afford to continually have our products stolen either."

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