'Of course, this is it'; Stolen JFK bust mysteriously found months later in wash

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'Of course, this is it'; Stolen JFK bust mysteriously found months later in wash

By Maggie Vespa. CREATED Mar 31, 2014

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - An iconic piece of Tucson history was stolen in the dark of night.

 
For three months, its concrete base has sat empty.
 
The bust of President John F Kennedy that sat atop it for roughly 50 years was nowhere to be found.
 
This weekend he resurfaced, and you won't believe where.
 
Sculptor Hardy Grant remembers its unveiling.
 
"It belonged to everybody," he said.  "There was lots and lots of people involved.  There were people that I don't even know that were involved."
 
When it disappeared in December, he thought it was gone forever.
 
That is, until a weekend walk through a west side wash turned up buried treasure.
 
"We found it in a pot turned upside downwards," said Corey Young.
 
Young and Samantha Kelley didn't know what they had found.
 
They lugged that 50 lb bust to Can-It recycling.
 
"You said I don't want money for this," said 9OYS reporter Maggie Vespa.
 
"We don't them we didn't want any money for it," answered Kelley.  "It just belonged to its rightful owner."
 
Enter Tucson Parks & Recreation administrator Peg Weber.
 
"As soon as I saw it, I thought of course this is it," she said.
 
She says she'd know Mr. Kennedy anywhere.
 
"It's a face everyone has known for a very long time and has a lot of respect for," she said.
 
Weber points to the nose worn by years of good luck rubs and Grant's signature on the back.
 
The only change are several small gashes, presumably damage from the heist.
 
But Weber says the damage that pails in comparison to knowing there are good people left in this world.
 
As for Corey and Samantha, they hope someone special takes note.
 
 
"What do you hope your kids take from this?" asked Vespa.
 
"Do the right thing," said Kelley.  "Just give it back.  It's not yours.  Just leave it alone."
 
Grant made a second JFK bust years ago.
 
He was prepared to sell it to the city if the original wasn't found.
 
He says it ould have cost them roughly $15,000.
 
9OYS also spoke with a spokesman for the Pima County Democratic Party, which originally commissioned the statue.  He says they are also very happy to have the bust back and grateful to Corey and Samantha for returning it.