Update: Artist Paul Lotz says via email Wednesday: “A Good Samaritan has found my Humpty Dumpty at Kobey’s swap meet and wants to return it.” A press conference was planned at Exclusive Collections Gallery in Seaport Village. “I hope (the finder) can tell me which vendor … had Humpty Dumpty at Kobey’s.”
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men are scanning Facebook, Craigslist and eBay for a Humpty Dumpty bronze sculpture stolen from the San Diego County Fair art competition.
The 15-20-pound statue that received an honorable mention was perched on a display case shelf in the grandstand area when it disappeared between 9:30 and 10 p.m. Friday.
The fair has security personnel and cameras positioned throughout the fair and have checked the surveillance footage. In addition, a theft report was filed with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, which has a presence throughout the fair’s run.
But Tuesdaay afternoon, the Sheriff’s Department suspended its investigation due to a lack of leads, said Sammy Castañon, media relations officer for the department.
“Nobody saw anything and there’s nothing to point us in the right direction,” Castañon said. He added that the fair is continuing its probe and that new clues would restart the department’s inquiry.
The Humpty Dumpty sculpture is 13 inches tall and 6 to 7 inches wide.
“We’re devastated for sure,” said Shawn Feisst, a spokesperson for the fair.
More than a million people have passed through the fair already this season, which ends July 4, she said.
Because of the weight of the artwork, “It wouldn’t be that easy to take. It’s totally odd,” Feisst said. She said this is the first ever theft of this kind at the fair.
The victimized local artist,Paul Lotz, said: “Some bad egg chose to ruin it.” Another of his pieces — “Counting Sheep,” a bronze sculpture of a moon with sleeping sheep — was awarded Best of Show.
But Lotz is pleased with the outpouring of support from people saying they are keeping an eye out for the item on social media and internet sales sites.
Although the one-of-a-kind piece is worth thousands of dollars, Lotz sees it as more personal than a financial loss.
“I’m all cracked up,” said the 51-year-old artist, as whimsical as his art. “My mind is scrambled that someone poached my egg.”
“I’m honored that someone loved it so much that they had to have it,” said the artist from University Heights.
But he really wants it back.
Lotz made different versions of the nursery rhyme sculpture, but this one is unique in that the egg is perched on a wall.
Lotz, who attended Temple University’s Tyler School of Art, said he began entering his artwork in the fair seven years ago.
He won best of show and first-place awards over the past four years after he switched his medium from ceramic to bronze, he said.
While he started out as a classical sculptor with pieces of beautiful dances, he switched to more whimsical work based on nursery rhymes such as “I’m a Little Teapot” and “Mary, Mary Quite Contrary.”
“The fair is a beautiful venue,” Lotz told Times of San Diego in a phone interview. “People are so fantastic. [The theft is] not the fault of the fair.”
And this incident won’t discourage him from entering the art competition in the future.
While Lotz said he may have to accept the lose of his artwork, he is holding out hope that he will be reunited with his good egg.
“I’m hoping the person (who stole it) messes up and posts it online or has the moral fiber to return it,” Lotz said.
Entrants are given written notice that the fair isn’t responsible for lost, stolen or broken items, Feisst said.
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