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$10,000 Carnegie bust stolen then returned to Turlock art center
Carnegie statue REV
The bronze bust of Andrew Carnegie was back in its rightful spot after having been stolen from the Carnegie Arts Center. - photo by Photo Contributed

The bronze bust of Andrew Carnegie has greeted visitors to the Carnegie Arts Center for the last year but recently the likeness of the Center’s namesake had a foray into the outer world when he was snatched off his pedestal.

After an eight-day absence Carnegie was once again back in his rightful spot after the suspected thief turned himself in to the Turlock Police Department.

The suspect, identified as Brian Chavez, 21 of Turlock was charged with commercial burglary and grand theft.


The bronze bust went missing on March 30 from the arts center. Surveillance footage shows an image of Chavez picking up the bust and leaving with it. The footage was shared by the Turlock Police Department on a Crime Stoppers flier through their Facebook page on Thursday.


Within a few hours, the flier had been shared 26 times and Chavez had turned himself into the police department. He also brought in the bronze bust, which has an estimated value of $10,000, said Turlock Police Sgt. Neil Cervenka.


The bronze bust was created by artist H. Daniel Webster of South Dakota. The bust was donated to the Carnegie Arts Center last year in recognition of the centennial celebration of Turlock’s original library.


In a wave of altruism industrialist Andrew Carnegie took on a campaign to promote education and literacy in the United States by building libraries across the country. Turlock was one of the communities to benefit from his philanthropy and in 1916 the Carnegie Library opened. For more than 50 years the site served as the town’s library until a new library was opened on Minaret Avenue.


Anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to call Detective Frank Navarro 209-664-7319. You can also contact the Turlock Police Department’s Tip Line at 209-668-5550 extension 6780 or email at