Miami-Dade County

April 30, 2014

Where’s the $10,000 deer? Mystery continues for Wynwood bar and artist

Almost two months after a group of men stole a metal deer sculpture created by a popular contemporary artist, the owners of Wynwood Kitchen & Bar want it back — and are willing to forgive the thieves.

The deer wants to come home.

Almost two months after a metallic deer sculpture was stolen from inside the grounds of Wynwood Kitchen & Bar, there’s still no sign of the $10,000 artwork created by noted contemporary American artist Ron English.

All has been quiet, despite police asking for the public’s help in finding the deer and the owners of Wynwood Kitchen posting surveillance video of the thieves on Instagram.

“We really all felt that once we posted it on Instagram, it would be returned,” said Marlo Courtney, senior managing director for Goldman Properties, which owns and operates Wynwood Kitchen, 2550 NW Second Ave. in Miami.

Courtney has a message for the thieves:

“Hey, guys, this is an expensive piece of art. Return it and let’s move on. All will be forgiven. The deer wants to come back.”

Wynwood Kitchen, a popular mainstay in the arts district, captured the theft on surveillance video at 2:22 a.m. March 2. The four-minute video clearly shows a group of preppy-looking young men scaling a seven-foot wall, then lifting the 75-pound sculpture over it. At one point, they rest the sculpture on top of the wall supported by its rump before leaving.

The video begins with a man jumping up and peeking over a wall of the restaurant, then hoisting himself up and over before disappearing. Another man soon joins him before a third looks over the wall, then jumps back to the street.

All the while, people are making their way down the street, some couples holding hands along the sidewalk, oblivious to the theft in progress.

For a couple of minutes, a fellow wearing a vest and sunglasses perched on his forehead sits on the wall rubbing his hands together. Someone else paces back and forth on the sidewalk.

Then the deer appears with its dark, lightning bolt-like stripes and is hoisted onto the wall, where it rests for a few seconds before someone on the other side pulls it over and the crew disappears.

The stolen deer is one of three pieces purchased from English in December 2011. About two years ago thieves stole all three of the art pieces, and one was later returned. That’s the one that was stolen in March.

To get the remaining deer, the thieves somehow managed to unhinge its bolts from the ground. Before it was taken, the deer appeared to be grazing in front a large mural of the woods, also painted by English.

Police and Courtney, the Goldman executive, believe the thieves knew what they were doing. But Courtney thinks of them more as a group of young knuckleheads — who got in a bit over their heads.

“These are not criminals,” he said. “These are pranksters. They knew it was there. You can see the car pull up in front.”

English, who gained popularity in 2008 with his famous “Abraham Obama” template, essentially a picture of the president superimposed with Abraham Lincoln’s face, was also one of the on-camera subjects in the 2004 Morgan Spurlock documentary Super Size Me, which highlighted the fast-food culture in American society.

He’s also done several album covers, including ones for Chris Brown and The Dandy Warhols. Like Courtney, English wants the deer returned.

“It’s fine to borrow them, but you can’t keep them forever,” he told Miami New Times. “You’ve got to bring them back.”

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