Stolen cow sculpture returned to Durham car dealer

tgrubb@newsobserver.comOctober 8, 2012 

— Police found a $10,000 CowParade North Carolina cow Monday less than two days after it was stolen from the Johnson Lexus dealership in southern Durham.

Danielle Bates, communications director for the N.C. Children’s Hospital, said Durham police found the cow at a home off Garrett Road and were sending it home. The police did not provide additional information, saying the matter is still “under investigation,” Bates said.

“The Cow is Greener on the Other Side” was stolen between 8 p.m. Saturday and early Sunday morning from a grassy area between the dealership and N.C. 751 South.

The artwork, created by Triangle artist Warren Anthony Hicks, was the third CowParade N.C. cow to run into trouble since the exhibit opened in August.

Sean Alazraki, the dealership’s community relations manager, said Hicks will need to touch up the cow but that the damage is not as bad as imagined, according to Bates..

Alazraki was driving by the dealership Sunday when he realized the cow was missing and called police. He also gave them the surveillance footage from the dealership.

The thieves unbolted the 125-pound cow’s hooves from the 400-pound concrete base, he said. A second cow on display – Binary Bovine – was not taken. The dealership has surveillance cameras and a security officer, plus a Durham County sheriff’s deputy parks there from time to time, so the thieves must have worked fast, he said.

Johnson Lexus gave the thieves 48 hours to return the sculpture – no questions asked, he said.

Bates said vandalism and theft are “unfortunate consequences of holding a public art event.”

“Knowing the ultimate purpose of these cow sculptures is to benefit patients at N.C. Children’s Hospital … we hope that is enough to elicit a sense of respect for the cows and an obligation within the community to love and protect them,” she said.

Two other cows have been vandalized.

A $500 reward is offered for information on the bow-tie theft from “Alexander Moo-lian Bow-vine.”

On Aug. 25, two UNC students were charged with causing $5,000 in damage to the “Cow House” by tipping it over.

Eighty-one cows are on display through Dec. 7 to raise awareness about the N.C. Children’s Hospital and will be auctioned in February to benefit the hospital.

Grubb: 919-932-8746

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