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Bloomsday Statue Is Still Missing Teens Say They Tossed Sculpture In Bushes, But Police Come Up Empty After Searching

Thu., Feb. 26, 1998

Two Spokane teenagers have confessed to swiping one of the steel Bloomsday runners from Riverfront Park, but the rusty racer remained missing Wednesday.

Andrew Strick, 18, and Lee Smith, 19, were charged Wednesday with one count each of first-degree theft, then released on their own recognizance.

They were arrested Tuesday after one of Smith’s co-workers at the Garland Dollar Theater overheard him talking about the theft and called police.

Neither has a criminal record in Spokane County.

Police said the two men admitted stealing one of the 40 runners that make up “The Joy of Running Together” sculpture.

The work was erected near the corner of Post and Spokane Falls Boulevard in 1985 as a tribute to the runners in the annual Bloomsday race, the largest timed road race in the country and a Spokane institution for 21 years.

Strick and Smith took the runner, modeled after a small boy, about midnight Feb. 16, police said.

They told officers they found it lying in the park, already broken from its base, said Dick Cottam, police spokesman.

Smith apparently put the statue in his car and drove around with it for several days, Officer Isamu Yamada wrote in a report.

“Strick then admitted dumping the statue in the bushes after he found out the police were investigating the theft,” Yamada said in the report.

The two men told police they abandoned the statue near Post and Mallon, Cottam said. Officers searched the area but didn’t find the sculpture Tuesday.

“We’re keeping our fingers crossed and are hoping that it’s found,” said Judy Quinlivan, Riverfront Park manager.

Anyone with information on the missing runner is asked to call Crime Check at 456-2233.

, DataTimes


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