Updated:FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. —
The artist who made a 400-pound bronze statue stolen from a Forsyth walking trail is offering hundreds of dollars for its return.
Gregory Johnson said he is putting up $500 of his own money for tips that lead to the recovery of a bald Eagle that was taken from the Big Creek Greenway Recreation Trail.
Authorities said it probably took a team of people to take Johnson's sculpture, described as a symbol of pride, off its foundation on Aug. 27.
"They left nothing but the concrete slab that it was attached to," Johnson said.
"People used that as a gathering point. People would admire it as they went out on the trail one lady said it's a symbol of our freedom our American way of life."
Channel 2's Carl Willis visited Johnson's studio in Cumming, where Johnson said he was offering $500 in cash to get the statue back where it belongs. He said it was on lease to Forsyth County Parks and Recreation and served as advertisement for his business.
"I really don't understand why you can't have something of beauty out there," he said.
Trail visitors were shocked when they realized the statue of a bald eagle with an
8-foot wingspan had vanished.
Johnson said that thieves would have had to grind four metal tabs to break it from the base; lift or drag it the length of a football field and lift it over a locked fence to get away with it.
But Johnson said he visited a scrap yard and found out something the thieves likely did take into account.
guys ... it's bronze, it's not copper and it's a specialty alloy and they're not going to take it," he said.
Now he just hopes it will be returned.
"I will personally write that check out to them and take them out for a cheeseburger," Johnson said.
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