CUMMING, Ga. — At Fowler Park’s Recreation Center, Nick Krznarich at the customer service desk is getting asked a familiar question.
“Is that the eagle that was stolen?” people frequenting the recreation center ask.
Krznarich replies, “Yes, but it’s the eagle that was recovered.”
The art sculpture is now located inside the Fowler Park Recreation Center, 4110 Carolene Way, Cumming.
“This location was selected because it offers a secure area, while still being a park facility where the public has access to and can enjoy the sculpture,” said Jodi Gardner, Forsyth County spokeswoman.
The large bronze sculpture, valued about $18,000 and named the “Inquisitive Eagle,” had disappeared overnight Aug. 27 or early morning Aug. 28.
On Sept. 17, Pedro Castro Garcia, 29, of Alpharetta, was charged with felony theft by receiving stolen property.
Garcia is not believed to be the person involved in the actual theft of the eagle, said Karleen Chalker, a spokeswoman for the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office.
“[He] either had knowledge of or should have had knowledge that the item was stolen,” she said.
Garcia told investigators he had bought the 6-foot tall sculpture with a wingspan of about 8 feet off someone’s truck bed, and he claims he didn’t know the item was stolen.
It’s unclear how much he paid, but it was far less than the $18,500 actual cost.
Sheriff Ted Paxton had said the recovery was an effort by community members giving law enforcement information about the stolen statue’s whereabouts.
The statue was in good condition after it was recovered from Garcia’s shed and was returned to Forsyth County Parks and Recreation on Sept. 14.
Sculptor Gregory Johnson had leased the eagle to the county park, and the lease will expire March 2013.
“It’s anticipated that the sculpture will remain at the recreation center through that time,” Gardner said.
Sheriff’s office officials say the investigation is still open and no one else has been charged.