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Whodunnit: art lovers or scrap metal criminals?

Barbara Hepworth sculpture stolen from London park
Copper thievesEnlarge
Repairmen in France work to replace metal stolen from French railways. As copper prices shoot up, an epidemic of metal thievery is plaguing parts of Europe. (PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)

Two Forms by Dame Barbara Hepworth has been located in south London's Dulwich Park for forty years. Early Tuesday, before sunrise, thieves cut the big bronze from its plinth and spirited it away. Police immediately pointed their fingers at scrap metal thieves.

As global prices for copper have shot up Britain and other parts of Europe, like France, have been undergoing a plague of scrap metal thievery. Railroad cables, telephone cables and sculptures have all disappeared at an alarming rate.

A Henry Moore sculpture was stolen in Yorkshire two years ago and melted down for its copper. Worth millions at auction, police say the copper in it probably was sold for around £1,500

The Hepworth is a lovely piece and it would be nice to think that it was stolen to order by art thieves rather than scrap metal crims so that it doesn't meet the same fate as the Henry Moore. But police are not optimistic.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/europa/whodunnit-art-lovers-or-scrap-metal-criminals

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