'Someone took a hammer to it'; Restoration experts buff & shine stolen JFK bust
By Maggie Vespa. CREATED May 16, 2014
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - His was a famous face, defiled and defaced by thieves, working in the dark of night.
The bronze bust of President John F. Kennedy was swiped from its downtown Tucson home of nearly 40 years, only to be found months later dumped in a wash!
The president's famous form was battered & beaten. Friday, 9OYS checked in on his recovery.
In order to pull of their harrowing heist, police said it appeared the culprits took a crowbar or something similar to the bust and base, clearly not caring if they did any damage.
"It looked like someone took a hammer and chisel and tried to break it into smaller pieces," said Jay Luker, co-owner of Metal Physics.
It's safe to say it is the facelift, Mr. Kennedy never wanted.
"Luckily enough when it was stolen, some of the pieces of the mounting remained," said Luker.
But Luker and his crew knew the hard part, locating the swiped statue, was over.
Now, JFK just needed some TLC, heavy metal style.
"We actually used the 1964 scraps here to do the welding so the metal would match perfectly," he said.
Their trickiest task?
Covering wear on the president's nose, as well as gruesome gashes to his chest and back.
But was he surprised?
"It's not as rare as you would think," he said.
Indeed reports of similar crimes from across the country, show that is true...
But here in Tucson, city officials are just glad to have their 50 pound bronze president back, and they're thankful for the gold star treatment he received here.
"It's very gratifying. It's a gift back to the community and I'm really grateful for all the folks who had a hand in it," said Peg Weber, of Tuscon Parks & Recreation.
According to Tucson Police, there is no progress as of yet in finding Mr. Kennedy's kidnappers, but officials don't care.
They are focused on moving forward and getting the bust reinstalled on its base by the end of the month with some super-duty and super-secret reinforcements.