Third Uncle Sam statue beheaded in Troy

Posted at: 08/15/2013 11:42 AM
Updated at: 08/15/2013 7:59 PM
By: Steve Flamisch

A cone now stands on Congress Street in place of the damaged Uncle Sam statue.
A cone now stands on Congress Street in place of the damaged Uncle Sam statue.
Photo: WNYT

TROY -- An Uncle Sam statue designed and painted by school children was beheaded overnight Wednesday, making it the third Uncle Sam to suffer that fate since the city's exhibit debuted in April.

"All Star Uncle Sam" stood outside Russell Sage College's M.O.S.S. Books and Other Provisions, 51 Congress St., across from the Rensselaer County Courthouse. Employees at the nearby Bruegger's bagel shop reported the vandalism to police at about 6:30 a.m. Thursday.

"We looked out and the statue was missing its head," Josh Bratt, the shop's general manager, told NewsChannel 13. "I looked down the street a little bit further and the head was laying on the corner of Congress St. and 2nd Ave."

Bratt said he brought the fiberglass head inside the shop and called the Troy Police Department. Detectives were assigned to the case.

If captured, the vandal or vandals could face felony criminal mischief charges, Capt. John Cooney said. No suspects were singled out.

The statue and its head were turned over to Elizabeth Young, executive director of the Downtown Troy Business Improvement District (BID), who glued them back together. Additional repairs were needed to return the artwork to its original shape.

The statue was designed and painted by the Sage All Stars, fifth and sixth graders in the college's after-school arts enrichment program, school officials said. The silhouettes on the lower half of the statue represent the ten kids in the program.

"By the end of it, they were so excited," Kelly Jones, assistant professor of education at the Sage Colleges, said. "They all came to Troy Night Out and visited the statue and took pictures with it and felt very proud."

Jones continued, "Honestly, that's the first thing I thought about --if they passed this in the morning and saw that it had been vandalized -- just thinking about how that might have made them feel."

Since the exhibit debuted in late April, vandals have beheaded three of the 30 Uncle Sam statues dotting the cityscape.

Annotated Uncle Sam lost his head on June 2, police said. Michael Siler, 22, of Watervliet, was charged with felony criminal mischief in that case. The statue has since been repaired and returned to the sidewalk on Broadway.

Uncle Rainbow, on 4th St. between Broadway and State St., was found beheaded early Saturday morning, police said. The head was not recovered. No arrests were made.

All Star Uncle Sam, the third statue targeted, is one of five designed by city kids, Sage's Jones said. All five are scheduled to be sold at auction when the exhibit ends. Proceeds will benefit the programs in which the children are enrolled.