Police arrest two in theft of Independence statue

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Independence police have arrested two men in connection with the theft of a statue from an Independence museum last week. Police have not released their names. FOX 4 has learned police searched a home in the 1500 block of Willow in Independence for the stolen statue.

One neighbor said he called police on Sunday after hearing loud noises from the home.

"It was very aggravating," he said. "It was loud, hammering noises, grinding noises."

Investigators believe the suspects pounded the statue with hammers, destroying it.

On Wednesday, employees at 12th Street Recycling said someone tried to sell them a brass statue, but manager Heather Hobbs said she refused to buy it. Hobbs said someone brought the statue to the center on Saturday, two days before it was reported stolen to Independence police.

Police are currently searching this home for the stolen statue.

Police are currently searching this home for the stolen statue.

Hobbs examined the metal and said it was virtually unrecognizable as a statue. Hobbs says it looked like the statue had been pounded out with a hammer.

Related: Independence offers $5,000 for stolen statue

She refused to buy the lump of brass when she recognized what looked like hands. She realized this could have been a work-of-art, and under a Kansas City ordinance, scrap yards are prohibited from buying sculptures or works-of-art.

At the time, on Saturday, no one knew the pioneer woman statue had been stolen.

Hobbs says she received an email from police on Monday afternoon and immediately contacted detectives. She says had she known about the stolen statue, she would have confiscated the metal.

The recycling center does have surveillance video and police have released photos to the public in hopes that someone will recognize who may have been trying to sell the statue.

She did tell FOX 4 News that the brass that used to be the statue of the pioneer woman was worth $578 in scrap. That's what the center would have paid for it had workers not recognized what it was.

David Aamodt with the National Frontier Trails Museum said it had been their hope that the statue would have been returned in tact. Aamodt now says he hopes justice will be served.

Watch John Pepitone's earlier report:

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