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Public artwork stolen from block club on city's West Side

Potomac 400-Block club at Potomac and Richmond Avenues

A piece of public artwork - symbolizing a strong city neighborhood - was vandalized and stolen the corner of Potomac and Richmond Avenues in Buffalo. 

The artwork was installed by the Potomac 400-Block club.   It was a steel statue of a Buffalo. 

Paul Springer is a member of the block club.   He tells WBFO News one neighbor heard and spotted vandals damaging the statue, then they carried it away around 3 a.m. Tuesday.

"He said they were college age kids.  Looked like they were trying to dismantle it by pushing back and forth and it looks likes they snapped it right off the base it was welded on to.  They proceeded to try and carry it down Richmond Avenue to Forest.  By the time he got dressed and rushed down the stairs they were a couple of houses down, once they heard him open his door I guess they dropped the piece and continue to proceed down Richmond Avenue," said Springer.

The thieves are described as white males in their early 20's. 

Niagara District Common Council member said funding for the statue came from private donations from neighborhood residents, and Rivera's Block Club Mini-Grant program.

"It was with disappointment and sadness that I learned this morning of the vandalism and theft of a piece of public art. The artwork--a “welcome statue” installed by the Potomac 400 Block Club--stood at the corner of Potomac and Richmond Avenues. It marked the entrance to one of the West Side’s most active and engaged blocks, and symbolized the progress the Potomac 400 Block Club’s has made in improving and unifying its neighborhood," said Rivera.

Rivera is personally offering a reward to anyone with information about the stolen statue’s location. 

"It is my and the Potomac 400 Block Club’s shared hope that we can recover the stolen statue and restore it to its previous beauty. We are also hopeful that any repairs made to the statue will make it much more difficult to steal. I am personally offering a reward to anyone with information about the stolen statue’s location, and encourage those with knowledge to call the Buffalo Police Department’s tip line at 847-2255," said Rivera.