A bronze statue stolen from the Miami Public Library in January is back in the Ottawa County community after a Miami resident working at a scrap metal business in Joplin spotted it.
As News On 6 reported earlier this week, Miami Police say a suspect tried to sell the statue to a metal recycling yard, but a worker at the yard called police.
The Miami Public Library has had the statue of a little boy reading sitting outside its main branch since 1997. In fact, he even appears on the back of its library cards.
Police say the statue was stolen in the middle of the night and turned up at CMC's metal recycling yard in Joplin.
Skip McBride works there and dealt with the customer who tried to sell the 120-pound statue. Skip says he knew right away something was fishy.
"He said that he had found it in his grandpa's field and that it had been there for a while," Skip McBride said. "So Steve said go ahead and buy it, so I bought it. So when the gentleman left, Steve said we might want to hold onto that."
Steve Jones is the manager of the recycling business.
McBride called Miami Police and the statue eventually found his way back to the Miami Police Department, where it's still sitting in the evidence room.
Police say they are taking good care of the statue, calling him The Kid and taking pictures of him in different costumes.
The suspect hasn't been arrested yet, but Miami Police say they know who he is.
As for the statue, the police and library are trying to figure out better ways to protect him, so he doesn't get stolen again.
The Miami Public Library issued the following statement this week.
Our iconic little boy has graced the southwest corner of the library grounds since 1997. He is made of bronze and is one of a limited edition of five. We were afraid we would never see him again. We are so grateful to the man who identified him as the missing statue and reported it to the Miami Police Dept.