Allen Buckley, 45, of Caractacus Cottage View, Watford, who stole two small bronze sculptures by Sir Jacob Epstein, last July, from the Watford Museum, has been jailed for 30 months. He stole the bronze statues valued at £43,000 in an “opportunist” theft. The Biblical works which included, Adam and Eve and The Burial of Abe were created in 1938 and considered a classic example of the artists Modernist sculpture.
The sculptures were discovered by police inside a black bin bag in the back of a car, on 30 July. This was just seventeen days after the theft was reported. Judge John Plumstead described Buckley as a “scavenger” with an appalling record of petty crime. “The objects you stole were for public enjoyment in a museum,” he said. “It was a very serious theft indeed.”
Neil Williams, 44, of no fixed address also admitted theft at an earlier hearing and is due to be sentenced in December. A third man, Graeme Rowe, 58, of Jellicoe Road, was given a 20-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, after he admitted handling stolen goods. Rowe had been given £100 to store the sculptures.
David Smithet, defending Rowe, said: “When he Googled them and realised their value, he rang the person who approached him and said he no longer wanted to look after them. “Before they could be taken from him the police arrived.” TheWatford Museum said the sculptures were not currently on display and were were no firm plans as to when they would be back on public view.