- Associated Press - Friday, January 1, 2016

NEW CARLISLE, Ind. (AP) - A sculptor has been working to repair a bronze statue honoring a Polish hero of the American Revolution that was hacked off at the feet by thieves taking it from an East Chicago park.

The statue of Polish Gen. Thaddeus Kosciuszko is now in the garage workshop of Barry Tinsley at his home in the northern Indiana town of New Carlisle.

Tinsley started in recent weeks restoring the 76-year-old statue that also had its face flattened and its head nearly cut off, The (Munster) Times reported (https://bit.ly/1RQ20r0). Tinsley has put stainless steel inside the statue to make it harder to cut through. The city is paying him about $10,000 for the work, which he expects to have finished no later than February.

Kosciuszko volunteered for the American army during the Revolutionary War and is a symbol of pride for Polish-Americans.

Two men are facing theft charges stemming from the September attempt to steal the statue.

The thieves apparently were hoping to sell the statue as scrap metal, but Tinsley said that likely would have been a futile attempt.

“The bizarre thing is that a scrap metal place will not take anything like this at all,” he said.

Tinsley creates his own sculptures, and he has experience doing conservation work. One of the most popular statues he does maintenance on is the Michael Jordan statue in Chicago.

After Tinsley finishes welding the damaged areas to the surface, he will sandblast the Kosciuszko statue. Then he will do a process called patina, which is using chemicals to color-brush the statue to a red-brown color.

The statue will receive a new coat of wax before it is placed back in the East Chicago park named for the general.

City spokesman Steve Segura said officials would like to see the statue return to the park by the spring. In the meantime, cosmetic changes will be done to the area where the statue used to stand.

“We have some big plans for the area,” he said.

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Information from: The Times, https://www.thetimesonline.com

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