Arrest warrants have been issued for three men accused of the theft and destruction of the statue “The Family,” a bronze work created by David Cargill that once stood at the Port Arthur Public Library.
Josh Manaway Sr., 52, Josh Manaway Jr., 29, and Terry Rogers, 42, all of Port Arthur, have been charged with second degree felony theft for allegedly stealing the statue and cutting it into several pieces to sell for scrap metal.
Justice of the Peace Marc Derouen issued the warrants and set bond at $50,000 for each suspect. Terry Rogers is currently incarcerated on an unrelated charge, the press release states. His arrest warrant was served at the Jefferson County Jail, where he remains. Josh Manaway Sr. was arrested and was booked at the Jefferson County Jail and bonded out, Sgt. Scott Gaspard of PAPD said. Josh Manaway Jr. remains at large.
The statue, which was appraised at $120,000 and has been a fixture of the library since 1981 was reported stolen on Feb. 27, Gaspard said. The 300-pound sculpture portrays intertwined figures of adults and children. Police recovered pieces of the sculpture March 7 at a metal recycling center in Liberty County. Others were recovered at several residences in Port Arthur, Gaspard said.
Cargill said Gaspard told him the Port Arthur Police were doing surveillance in Liberty and the police had to pass through the city of Ames, east of Liberty.
“Ames has this big scrap yard,” Cargill said. “(Gaspard) just called them and told them to check it.”
Parts of the statue were recovered from the scrap yard and traced back to the suspects, Cargill said.
Gaspard said the statue was a tremendous loss to the city of Port Arthur.
“Hundreds of people a week go to the library, and now they’re walking by an empty base where they used to go by a statue that was an icon at the library. It just shows that (the thieves) have no regard for the public,” Gaspard said. “They have no regard for being a part of the community. The metal thieves in Port Arthur right now are a cancer.”
“It’s stupid is what it is,” Cargill said of the theft. “I don’t know what they got, $200-300 probably for the scrap metal. They probably got $300 and 20 years (in prison). (The sculpture) is part of the richness in the town. It changes how people think, but it just didn’t reach them.”
Gaspard said police documented the recovered pieces and returned them to the library. Gaspard said he spoke to Cargill on Wednesday, April 2, about possible reconstruction.
“We are going to explore that option,” Gaspard said. “We are going to bring it up to his shop in a few days and let him examine it and see what he thinks about it. There is a possibility of him putting it back together and re-commissioning the art piece as a new art piece.”
Cargill told The Examiner he is optimistic about reconstructing the statue, but that with any piece of art, it will not be exactly the same as the original, which he created in the late 1960s.
“I have to have it in my hands — all the pieces. No. 1, they may not all be there,” Cargill said. “I don’t know whether any of it has been bent up. Anything you do and you do more work on it, it’s going to be different in some kind of way, but visually it ought to look the same. It would be as close as I can make it.”
If you have any information on the whereabouts of Josh Manaway Jr., call Port Arthur Police Criminal Investigation Division at (409) 983-8624.