St. Ambrose statue returns home

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SALT LAKE CITY -- The statue of a Catholic saint is back home after being stolen from a Salt Lake City church.

The statue had to undergo some repairs before it could be reinstalled at the St. Ambrose Church.

The 8-foot statue of St. Ambrose is almost as good as new. Some would say it looks better than it did before. Many people are happy to see it cleaned up and back where it belongs.

"It looks beautiful," said Pastor Andrzej Skrzypiec of the St. Ambrose Parish. "It looks better than I really ... I've never seen it looking that beautiful."

In front of a small crowd a crane lifted the 800-pound statue back onto its pedestal in front of the church.

It's been quite a journey for the statue. It was stolen from the St. Ambrose Church a few weeks ago. Thieves carted off the statue, leaving nothing but a few bolts behind.

A few days later, police discovered the statue in a Midvale garage. Officers arrested 31-year-old Chris Steven Hayward for a second-degree felony possession of stolen property.

The St. Ambrose statue was roughed up a bit in the heist; there was a scuff on the nose and graffiti on the chest.

"We had to cut the sword off and straighten it and flatten the base," said Kevin Maag, president of the Metal Arts Foundry, who made the repairs. "It was bent and distorted."

Maag and the Metal Arts Foundry offered to do the repairs for free.

"It's a fairly easy task," he said. "It's just hours and labor."

The St. Ambrose statue got a new coat of sealant and finish, and extra steel was added to make it stronger.

A local crane company also stepped in to help, donating time and services.

"It's wonderful that we all came together," Skrzypiec said.

The church plans to rededicate the statue on Easter Sunday.



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