Grand Rapids (WZZM) - Artist Mic Carlson says he will replace the Saint Francis of Assisi statue stolen from the Dominican Center in Grand Rapids. But it will take a few months.
"I've already started," says Carlson.
His bronze piece called "St. Francis on the Road" was taken from the Saint Francis Sculpture Garden for Prayer and Meditation sometime over the weekend of June 8.
"We left Friday around 3:00 P.M. and it was still here," recalls landscape designer Skip Herrema. "Came back Monday and it was missing. "
24 sculptures depicting the life of St. Francis are planned along the wooded walkway next to the Grand Rapids home of the Dominican Nuns on Fulton Street.
So far, three were in place, but now one of the statues is gone. Someone broke it off at its base and carried it away.
"We think they took a rock, banged on it to loosen the welds and rocked it back and forth to snap it off," explains Herrema.
"It's too bad," says Sister Judith Kirt of the Dominican Order. "I'm just surprised somebody decided they needed it more. It's been here a long time."
Salvage yards and pawn shops have been notified to be on the lookout for the stolen statue.
Carlson says it will take a few months for him to replace the stolen sculpture.
"I have to re-sculpt the whole thing and make another mold," he says. "It's never identical, but it will be similar.
The 24 sculptures planned for the wooded walkway depict the journey St. Francis took when he left his father's home in Assisi to live a humble, charitable life.
Instruments of Hope, the group overseeing the project, has raised enough money to sculpt and install at least 2 more pieces.
Work on the remaining statues and landscaping will proceed as contributions come in from donors.
"Why would anybody steal from a place like that," wonders Carlson. "It's an outdoor church. A place to go and meditate."