Craftsman searches for artwork stolen from Kentucky State Fair

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by Adam Walser

WHAS11.com

Posted on August 26, 2011 at 11:41 PM

(WHAS11)  A Louisville wood carver is hoping that the public will help him recover a piece of art that was stolen when he entered it into a Kentucky State Fair competition this week.  A hand-carved walking stick seemingly walked away, after it had been entered into a contest.

The Kentucky State Police have become involved in the search for the missing work of art, but the person who made it hopes that you might be able to help him get it back.  “I work on it, I get lost in it. I put my heart and soul into it,” said Greg Miles, describing the woodwork he does in the small workshop beside his home.

It was where he made a custom Harley Davidson skull walking stick a couple of hours at a time over the course of a month.  “Something like that takes about 40 hours to make, I guess,” said Miles.  He sold the walking stick to a friend back in April for $700.  “He wanted it entered into the fair. He wanted a blue ribbon winning stick,” said Miles.

During the last six years, Miles has won lots of blue ribbons at the state fair, but when he dropped the stick off Sunday, he said he felt uneasy about what he believed was a lack of security.  “I’d take my stick out there and there’d be a big pile of them and I thought, ‘what would keep someone from picking one up and walking off with it?’” Miles said.

That’s apparently what happened before the crafts were judged Monday morning.  Fair officials tell us it was in a locked building with roving security, but somehow, someone took it.  It happened at the worst possible time for Greg and his wife Donna.

Greg has only been working part-time as a brick layer in recent months, as the economy has suffered a downturn in the construction industry.  Donna, who worked at a family-owned hardwood floor company, was laid off for the same reason.

Greg now has to create a new walking stick for the customer, since the family doesn’t have the money to pay him back.  “Times are pretty tough right now. And for something like this to happen it hits us really hard,” said Greg Miles.

This week, Donna Miles has been doing all she can to try to get the walking stick back.  “I printed up these papers, when I’m out at the fair, some people might see it and call us about it,” she says, pointing to pictures of the walking stick attached to her car windows.

The stick has been posted on Facebook and written about in a letter to the editor of the Louisville Courier-Journal.  “I hope the person who stole it has a conscience,” she wrote in the letter.  She also took out a classified ad in the paper, in hopes of getting the piece of artwork back.

The Miles say if you have the stick, you can turn it in at the entry booth at the state fair, no questions asked.  If you know who took it, a reward is being offered for information that helps the owner get it back.

 

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