Bronze statue stolen from UC Berkeley found cut in pieces

(KRON)

SAN LEANDRO (KRON) — A bronze statue that was stolen earlier this month from the U.C. Berkeley Crew boathouse in Oakland has been recovered in San Leandro, but it is badly damaged.

On Saturday, San Leandro police found the remains of the statue in the back of a truck, which was parked near the home of a man who is on searchable probation. No warrant was required.

Officers went to the man’s home and started looking around.

“It was missing its head, and it was missing its feet,” Lt. Robert McManus said. “And inside, in the backyard, they found a 3 foot by 3 foot hole that had been dug in the backyard, and in the base of the hole were the head and the feet to the statue.”

Police arrested 46-year-old Dean Gamaza and charged him with possession of stolen property and violation of his probation. Police said it appears the statue was cut up with power tools in an attempt to sell the bronze for scrap, but that turned out to be no small task.

It is a life-sized sculpture of rowing coach Carol “Ky” Ebright, who coached the team from the 20s to the 50s.

“That statue apparently weighs 300 pounds, and it’s pretty much solid bronze,” Ebright said. “My thinking is there was probably more than one person that participated in stealing that statue. What happened after that, I don’t really know. Once again, we did recover several power tools at the house. The statue itself was mutilated where they tried to cut it up into smaller pieces, probably either to lighten the weight or to try to disguise what it really was because it was so distinguishable. And hoping not to get caught with it.”

Police returned the statue to U.C. Berkeley Tuesday afternoon. It is unclear if it can be repaired.

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