Two Missouri teens earn punishment for stealing statue

Thursday, August 1, 2013 | 2:47 p.m. CDT; updated 8:00 p.m. CDT, Thursday, August 1, 2013

MARSHALL — Two central Missouri men will pay thousands of dollars to repair a statue they stole during a senior prank.

The Salina County prosecutor said Gregory Bledsoe, 19, of Nelson, and Garrett Tyler Green, 18, of Marshall, will repay $20,000 for the cost of repairing the Sister of Liberty statue they stole from Indian Foothills Park in August 2012.

The two planned to put the statue in the Marshall High School parking lot but after public outrage over the theft, decided to hide it instead, The Marshall Democrat-News reported Wednesday.

Others knew of the plan to steal the statue, but Green and Bledsoe were the people who took the statue from the park, prosecuting attorney Don Stouffer said in a news release.

The statue was stolen during the night of Aug. 5, 2012. In October, Bledsoe claimed he found it in the Blackwater River. A short time later, Green went to Marshall police and confessed, and Bledsoe confessed a short time later.

Metalsmith Beno Messer of Slater refurbished the , it was reinstalled at the park May 17.

Green and Bledsoe also agreed to several conditions in order to avoid a felony conviction including keeping a curfew, writing a letter of apology and 60 hours of community service.

"These cases always create difficult issues for a prosecutor, and my primary focus has always been to severely punish the students in such a manner that their scholarships, education and careers will not be lost because of one senseless act," Stouffer said.

The Sister of Liberty was originally given as a gift to the park by Marshall Boy Scouts on July 4, 1951. It was refurbished in 2011 after the community raised the necessary money.

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