ROYAL OAK, Mich. (WJBK) - A valuable piece of art went missing from the Live Edge Artisan Gallery in Royal Oak earlier this week. Gallery owners Scott and JoAnne Myers thought the piece, which took a prize at the Grand Rapid's Art Prize competition, was stolen, but it turns out to have been a big misunderstanding that has a happy ending.
We're told a scrapper saw the piece laying in the front of the gallery and thought it was free metal and took it. Two men who say they know the scrapper who took the art saw a FOX 2 News report at 10 p.m. Monday on the missing sculpture. They recognized the piece and rushed to the gallery to explain what happened.
That's where they met FOX 2's Hannah Saunders. You can watch their interview in the video player above, or continue reading below. They say the piece is safe and sound.
"It's actually in my garage right now," Glen said. "I have a buddy who is a scrapper and he called me saying he found this sign. He thought it was pretty cool; it was out by the street. I told him to pick it up, I'll take a look at it. I told him I have a buddy interested in it. And then I was sitting there watching the news tonight; I watch the 10 o' clock news every night and I almost died. I was like 'Oh my God, a $25,000 sculpture!' I was like, 'I've got to get this back to these people!'"
Glen said it has been saved it from going to the scrapyard.
"We thought we were sparing it from going to the landfill or getting cut up in the scrap yard. We thought it was too cool to just go to the garbage, and we thought we were rescuing it from going into the landfill," Tony said. "As soon as we saw it on TV, our gut dropped and I was like, "Oh, my God, we've got to give that back. That was not being thrown away.'"
Earlier in the day, the two gallery owners lamented with Hannah over the art piece being taken.
"It was so impressive," gallery owner Scott Myers said. "Every person who walked through the door said, 'Wow, where did you get the sign? Is this sign for sale?'"
The welcome sign is made of painted iron and other material, and stands about 5 feet tall and weighs between 250 and 350 pounds.
In a relatively crime-free part of Royal Oak, the owners told Hannah they thought the sign would be safe to stay outside the main entrance of their new art gallery as they designed and rearranged inside.
"We were really excited to be able to bring it here to the gallery," said JoAnne. "And then to have it stolen a week after is sad."
This nameless piece is worth an estimated $25,000. The sculpture, made by Michigan artist Leslie Bolyard, was a hit at Art Prize 2012, winning awards at the growing international art competition in Grand Rapids.
"It meant a lot to us. It meant a lot to the artist who made it, who won some prizes for that," said JoAnne.
The owners had told Hannah they were most worried the piece will get scrapped by people who don't know its worth -- which is exactly what almost ended up happening. But fortunately in this case, there was a happy ending.