A message left for the Troop C public information officer before 3 p.m. Tuesday wasn’t returned by 6 p.m. The Tryon Inn and Backdoor Bar is located at 124 Main St., Cherry Valley.
Sapinsky said she heard that two men loaded the elk sculpture onto a flatbed truck and drove away with it.
“It had been taken in broad daylight,” Sapinsky said. A woman who reportedly saw the theft is trying to be identified and contacted, she said, and a man who saw the truck drive away wasn’t close enough to catch details or a description.
Klemperer said she didn’t know about Cherry Valley until invited to participate in the local show by an artist friend. Her artwork is displayed at sites across the country, she said by telephone Tuesday, and the theft gives her pause about participating in exhibits.
The situation is unfortunate for everyone involved, including the organizing group, Klemperer said. Arts groups, which present such exhibits to the public in good faith, cannot monitor outdoor displays all the time, she said, and generally, participation in such a show is at great expense to an artist.
The theft also was surprising because she considered the size and weight of the sculpture a measure of security, Klemperer said. Previously, one of her smaller pieces was stolen for scrap metal, she said, and more recently a larger work on display was intentionally knocked over.
But a larger work hasn’t been stolen, Klemperer said, wondering aloud if the work was stolen to cash in on the scrap metal value.
“I don’t know what is going to happen,” Klemperer said. “It’s very upsetting.”
Debbi Moon, an owner of the Tryon Inn, said she had been surprised to hear that the elk was stolen.
“We thought the artist had picked it up,” Moon said. The sculpture trail had attracted tourists to Cherry Valley, she said.
The elk had been a favorite for photo opportunities, she said, and birds made a nest inside it. Moon said her son, who is getting married this weekend, had planned to include photographs beside the elk as part of the wedding’s hunting theme.
Signs and other items have been stolen from the lawn, she said, expressing hope that the elk is recovered.
“We loved it,” Moon said.