Man arrested for attempting to steal dog sculpture; police recover 1 previously taken

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University police on Sunday (May 10) arrested a man on several charges, including the attempted theft of a dog sculpture that is part of the Dog Days of Summer community art project. Police also recovered one of two sculptures previously reported stolen.

Adam Sachs, 20, a sophomore in the College of Engineering from St. Louis, was taken to Tippecanoe County Jail on preliminary charges of public intoxication, consumption of alcohol by a minor, criminal mischief and attempted theft.

According to a police report, an officer saw Sachs shortly before 3:30 a.m. attempting to steal the dog sculpture “El Perro” that was located on campus near the intersection of Grant Street and Northwestern Avenue. Sachs was carrying a toolbox with him when he was arrested, according to the report. The statue was not damaged.

In addition to Sunday’s attempted theft, two of the 41 dog sculptures decorated by area artists as part of the art project were stolen late Friday (May 8) or early Saturday (May 9). Police do not believe Sachs was involved in the previous thefts.

On Sunday afternoon, police recovered one of those sculptures – “Give a Dog a Bone, an X-RAY View” by artist Liz Rainey. A passerby called police after spotting the artwork behind foliage outside the Purdue School of Veterinary Medicine’s Lynn Hall, near the location from which the dog was originally taken. Nicknamed “Oliver” by students, the sculpture was sponsored through contributions from students, faculty and staff in honor of the School of Veterinary Medicine’s 50th anniversary.

“It’s great that Oliver has been recovered,” said Kevin Doerr, the School of Veterinary Medicine’s director of alumni relations and public affairs. “Everyone loved this beautifully painted dog, and having it back safely at the school is a tremendous encouragement. It appears to be in excellent condition except for the leg that was broken by the person who removed the sculpture from its mounting location.”

Police are still attempting to find the final missing dog. “Alfie the Alpha Dog,” decorated by artist Janet Combs Ivas, was taken from the Northwestern Avenue side of the West Lafayette Public Library.

Doerr said a reward of up to $250 was being offered for its safe return.

Anyone with information related to the thefts is asked to contact Purdue police at 765-494-8221 or the anonymous tip line at 765-496-3784.

The School of Veterinary Medicine and the Art Museum of Greater Lafayette partnered on the project that placed decorated life-size dog statues throughout Lafayette and West Lafayette.

In addition to celebrating the 50th anniversary of the school, the project also is a tribute to the 100th anniversary of the Art Museum of Greater Lafayette and benefits both equally. The Dog Days of Summer builds upon previous sculpture projects in the community: Hog Wild in 2003 and Frog Follies in 2005. This new project was inspired by the School of Veterinary Medicine’s outdoor sculpture “Continuum” by Larry Anderson, which features a dog as part of its array of people and animals in a depiction of the enduring human-animal bond.

Artists from Indiana and other areas were recruited to decorate three-dimensional dog forms. Corporations, business owners, veterinarians and individuals have sponsored the individual dogs.

Proceeds from the project will benefit the School of Veterinary Medicine’s 50th Anniversary Scholarship Endowment and its Good Samaritan Fund, and the Art Museum of Greater Lafayette’s art education programs.

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 February 2020