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April 11, 2014

‘Samo Ducky’ taken from Firehouse Art Center in Norman

NORMAN — The 200-pound plaster duck known as “Samo Ducky,” located near the Firehouse Art Center, 444 S. Flood Ave. in Lions Park, has been reported missing, FAC Executive Director Douglas Shaw Elder said.

A police report was filed 10:24 a.m. Thursday, Norman Police Department Captain Tom Easley said.

The incident is currently under investigation.

“Samo,” 44-inch sculpture created in 2010 and painted to look like a rubber ducky, is the original sculpture by Elder that inspired Norman Public Arts Board’s Duck Project.

Since July 2012, 12 fiberglass reproductions, painted with different designs by local artists, have been installed in 10 local parks.

The original plaster duck was not bolted down, Elder said, but all fiberglass sculptures are bolted onto a cement pad and are impossible to steal.

“I should have bolted it down sooner,” Elder said. “I have a real trust for our community and their appreciation for art. I just never would have thought this would happen.”

Because of wear and tear, Elder said a fiberglass duck was ordered to replace the plaster duck before it was stolen.

The replacement will cost $2,000. Though Elder said he is unable to estimate the cost of the original plaster duck, the replacement cost would qualify the theft as grand larceny. Under Oklahoma state statutes, grand larceny is the theft of property exceeding $500.

Elder said he imagines this was done as a harmless prank and he isn’t worried about future retaliation or problems with other duck sculptures. He hopes to get the original back for sentimental reasons and for display during special events.

The fiberglass replacement will be installed in a few weeks, Elder said.

“My hope is we can recover the duck and maybe we can use this as an exercise to get the community to understand there are people who work very hard to work with Parks and Recreation, Public Arts Board, Norman Arts Council and Firehouse Art Center to bring arts to the community and this particular one for the kids,” Elder said. “We need the community’s assistance to help us take care of these sculptures, and that will be a good thing.

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