LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – The owner of a popular restaurant in Lakewood called White Fence Farms was sorry to learn the fate of one of two bronze sheep statues stolen from his property earlier this month.
Lakewood police arrested Moises Rodriguez Fernandez Tuesday on felony theft charges.
The life-size bronze sheep raised suspicions when someone brought it to a metal recycling yard in Denver. Thieves broke through a fence and dragged two of the sheep across the lawn. Then they were apparently loaded into a waiting pickup parked on Jewell Street.
Charlie Wilson owns the restaurant.
“We had two sheep that were right on the other side of the pond by the ducks,” Wilson said. It was frustrating because those were the first bronze sculptures we had here on the property.”
The surviving statue shows how even concrete bases didn’t prevent the thieves from ripping them out of the ground.
“You could still see on the hoofs of the sheep there was still some cement and fresh dirt on the bottom,” Mike Rosen said.
Rosen owns Atlas Metal and Iron. He said he became suspicious when a man and woman came to his yard trying to sell the two sheep for scrap.
“If we’re going to buy this material then we’re going to take down all their information before we actually pay them,” Rosen said. “(I said) ‘we’re going to contact the police department and let them know.’ They weren’t comfortable with that at all.”
Cooperation between Rosen and Lakewood police has led to one arrest, but there’s bad news about the sheep.
“I found out they have some evidence that one of the sheep was cut up,” Wilson said. “So that’s kind of a gruesome thought, but the other one we’re not sure what happened to it.”
The bronze sheep were valued at up to $15,000 apiece. The sculptor is willing to make replacements and Wilson is very interested. It’s not clear if insurance will cover the loss.
White Fence Farms says it’s going to upgrade its security system with motion detection cameras to prevent more thefts.