How, exactly, do you steal a giant, 800-pound ball-peen hammer? If the effort it took to install the sculpture is anything to go by, it’s not an endeavor to be undertaken lightly.
“When I moved it, I used a small crane on the back of a truck and I had a flatbed trailer,” said Unkrey. He added that the process of stealing it, base and all, without such equipment could not have been easy.
“I think you would need at least eight people if you did it without machinery because it’s very awkward,” he said. “It’s 21 feet long, it’s kinda round, it’s not easy to hold onto, you’d need straps if you were gonna lift it without a crane. You’d want to put straps around it or some boards for people to put it on their shoulders or something, because it’s just too awkward.”
The spot where Unkrey’s sculpture was installed was not under video surveillance, Erkel said, and no nearby security cameras picked up the thieves as they made off with the hijacked hammer. The community center’s location near the north end of town also meant that the thieves would not have had to pass many businesses before getting onto Freeway 101, and, from there, could have taken the sculpture just about anywhere.
“They came at the right time on the right day at the right hour, and everything worked in their favor for taking it,” the officer added.
In the nearly four months since the heist, Erkel’s leads dried up and he began contacting local recycling centers, thinking the sculpture might have been sold for scrap. “They’ve all been alerted but nobody has brought anything like that in,” he said.