Temple police arrest pig statue thief
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After a two-week-long investigation, Temple police have arrested the man they say stole one of the bronze pig statues from Oak Creek Park.
Part of a city public arts program, the bronze pigs have become local celebrities.
"We have some that have been vandalized, but nothing ever stolen before," Val Roming with the Temple Parks Department said.
With the statue snatcher on the loose, police worked quickly to root up some clues.
"It was located in Belton in an apartment complex,” Cpl. Christopher Wilcox with the Temple Police Department said. “They did turn the pig over as soon as they were confronted about it.”
And somebody squealed.
"We were able to determine the one culprit out of the group that had gone into the park and actually taken the pig," Cpl. Wilcox said.
Their suspect, 20-year-old Casey Hunt of Belton, surrendered to police Thursday night.
"There may or may not have been some other people present at the time, but it appears he was acting alone," Cpl. Wilcox said. "I don't know whose idea it was, he was just the one who took it."
Hunt has been charged with Class A Misdemeanor Theft.
"A local welding shop was able to repair the damage and put new anchor bolts in for the feet of the pig,” Roming said. "I think he's happy to be home. Looks like Mom and Dad are happy too, so that's a good thing."
The pig’s fans are in hog heaven.
"It's a terrific outcome. It's the best we could hope for,” Temple resident Susan Long said.
Police say hamming it up helped.
"The attention that this case received, it helped to bring it to a successful resolution,” Cpl. Wilcox said.
And now that they've brought home the bacon, they’re as happy as hogs in the sun.
"We're just glad to have our baby back and the people who do the decorating will probably be out and decorate him for Mardi Gras right soon," Long said.
The pig repair bill cost the park department about $60. Hunt faces a maximum punishment of two years in jail and a $4,000 fine.