Bust of President Kennedy stolen from Tucson park

2013-12-17T11:28:00Z 2014-01-14T19:05:08Z Bust of President Kennedy stolen from Tucson parkBy Darren DaRonco Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Thieves snatched the bust of former President John F. Kennedy from a downtown park during the weekend.

City officials said someone ripped the bronze bust from its granite base in El Presidio Park, which is home to City Hall and the old Pima County Courthouse. It’s not known exactly when it was stolen.

A city parks employee noticed it was missing Monday morning while making his rounds, said Sierra Davenport, a Parks and Recreation spokeswoman.

The bust was originally unveiled Nov. 22, 1964, one year after Kennedy’s assassination.

It cost $1,000 and was paid for by the Pima County Democratic Party.

Hundreds attended the dedication ceremony that day with local officials and Arizona’s then-Governor-elect Sam Goddard. 

The bust was removed in 1968 during construction of the new park. It was returned in 1971.

The bust measures 1 foot, 8 inches in height and stood just over 6 feet when on the base.

While thieves do steal bronze statues to cash in on the raw materials, it might be difficult to turn a profit on this particular piece, said Mary Ellen Wooten, public art program manager for the Tucson Pima Arts Council.

“It’s difficult when you have a sculpture of somebody this recognizable,” she said. “You’d think somebody would be suspicious” if you took it to them.

Wooten speculated the person or people responsible for lifting the 35th president’s bust might have wanted it for personal reasons and won’t attempt to sell it.

Either way, Wooten said, it’s important the bust is located and brought back to the city.

“It’s something that belongs to all of us and should be returned,” she said.

A police report has been made and area metal shops have been informed.

City officials encourage anyone with information related to the theft to call 88-CRIME.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

About this blog

Arizona Daily Star's Government blog includes stories and related items from Tucson and Pima County written by Star reporters Darren DaRonco and Jamar Younger.

Have a government-related topic you would like to see in the blog or suggestions? Email Darren DaRonco at ddaronco@tucson.com and Jamar Younger at jyounger@tucson.com

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