Thieves stole the National Trails Museum's iconic statue over the weekend, and replacing it would cost an estimated $75,000.
Museum officials believe copper thieves sought the 6-foot tall bronze statue and intend to break it up and sell it.
"We hope it gets returned," David Aamodt, the museum's administrator, said Monday afternoon. "It was a one-of-a-kind statue with tremendous importance to the city and the people who had it commissioned."
A $5,000 reward is being offered for the safe return of the statue, and a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.
The statue was located behind the museum near the Oregon Trails Association building and is considered a city treasure. An employee for the association noticed it was missing Monday morning when she arrived at work and asked museum staff if the statue had been sent off for cleaning.
It hadn't been.
"There had been some recent thefts very close to us of copper," Aamodt said. "The first thing I thought was, 'Dang it. Someone is out for the metal.'"
The statue was commissioned for the museum's opening in 1990. It cost $35,000 at the time but would cost $75,000 to replace it now.
The Pioneer Woman depicts a woman carrying a child in one arm and a bucket in the other. The majority of the sculpture is blue with the exception of the faces, hands, hair and feet, which are bronze-color. The statue was intended to be a tribute to all the pioneer mothers of the past and their daughters of today.
If you have any information, call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS.
The museum is looking to see if the city's fine arts insurance policy would cover the replacement costs, but would prefer to have the original returned safe and sound.
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