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BOUNTIFUL — Cade Woolley didn’t quite know what to think at first after he learned that his piece of art was stolen from the art exhibit it was displayed in.
"It's not something I had expected, you know?" Woolley said. "I didn’t think that a student project, something that I just made in a garage, would really catch the eye of someone like that, but apparently it did."
Still, considering the amount of time he'd put into the rosewood and stone ring that he spun and carved, Woolley said the crime is more upsetting than flattering.
"Any time that something is stolen, it's annoying," the Clearfield High School senior said. "But when it's something that I made myself, that's a little extra frustrating, you know?"
Woolley's ring was among dozens of art pieces on display at The Bountiful Davis Art Center, or BDAC, as part of a regular exhibit made up of junior high and high school students from around Davis County. The executive director of the BDAC, Alysa Revell, said it's the first time the nonprofit organization has dealt with a theft ever since it opened in 1974.
"It was very surprising, very surprising; and we’re kind of scrambling to figure out how to deal with it," Revell said. "It's very frustrating to think that somebody would come and steal a student's piece of art that they had worked so hard on. I mean, stealing from kids. It's pretty unbelievable."
A staff member at the BDAC noticed Woolley's ring was missing from the display at the end of the day on April 27, according to Revell. Since then, the art community has come together to offer a $200 reward for the return of the ring.
Revell said, ultimately, if it's not returned, she's hopeful that the center can raise enough money to pay the $300 price that the ring was on display for. Meantime, she said the BDAC will likely hold a fundraiser at some point in the future to buy some surveillance cameras.
"It's such a great opportunity for these young artists to have some place to showcase their work," Revell said. "And we want them to be able to feel like their pieces are safe, and that they will be returned to them."
Woolley said even though he listed the ring for sale at the exhibit, he's decided he would much rather have it back.
"It's something that I can use and see every day and that does mean a lot to me," Woolley said. "To be honest, I didn't really want it to sell. I really enjoyed the project and I would like to keep (it), so having it back would be a great blessing to me."
Woolley said his message to the thief, and anyone who would consider stealing art, is to learn to create it instead.
"Whoever did this, and whoever thinks about doing this, and just people in general: Think about how you can make it unique to you, not taking work from someone else. That's my big message, I think," Woolley said.