Stolen 300 lb. statue of Pa. war hero found under I-95

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Watch the report from Gray Hall on Action News at 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 25, 2017. (WPVI)

It's a marble mystery that has city officials confounded. How did a large, heavy statue of a Pennsylvania war hero get from Fairmount Park to South Philadelphia... and why?

"I think there was some work done to get this thing unsecured from the Arch, and then to get it transported to where it ended up. Honestly I have no idea," says Commissioner of Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Kathryn Ott Lovell.

It's a mystery that even has Lovell scratching her head - who stole the General James Beaver bust from the Smith Memorial Arch in Fairmount Park Thursday night.

She admits that whoever took it had their work cut out for them.

"That is the real mystery. We think it is about 4 feet tall and 300 pounds. This is not the kind of thing you can throw in the back of your truck. So, we are a little stymied by how in the world someone got up 12 feet high," Lovell said.

Someone discovered the bust Friday morning under the I-95 overpass near FDR Park. At this point, there are no answers to who, with what, and why.

Those hearing about the theft are just as puzzled as employees with Parks and Recreation.

"It is very strange, and I don't even know what to make of it or even if this is the last we will hear of such an act. I don't think it is, unfortunately," said Lance Bembry of West Philadelphia.

"I don't understand the meaning of why they would do it. What do they gain from it? Especially if you just dumped it few blocks down the street. I don't understand it - it is just crazy out here," said Larry Armstrong of Upper Darby.

The bust was installed in the early 1900s and leaders with Parks and Recreation say they don't know of any controversy surrounding General Beaver. Unlike recent controversies with Confederate monuments in our area and across the country, General Beaver served in the Union Army, making the theft even bizarre.

"I can't say whether or not this has any kind of connection to recent events that have happened," said Lovell. "It wouldn't have been the first time we've had a piece of public work or sculpture vandalized or stolen in the park system. We have thousands throughout our park system, so unfortunately they are threatened by vandalism and theft every now and again."

Police are investigating the crime.

Parks and Recreation says there was some damage to the sculpture, but say they will repair and return it to its proper home.

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