Update: Missing statue handed in to police, women identified by CCTV vision
The ACT government is still considering whether or not to repair Civic's "little men" statue, after it was vandalised again on the weekend.
Police have issued images of two women who they say stole the smallest of the four figures on the Petrie Plaza sculpture On The Staircase early on Sunday morning.
ACT Policing said the theft took place at 12.30am, with CCTV capturing the women at the statue.
Just before 5pm on Monday, Police issued a statement saying the statue had been handed in at City police station on Monday afternoon.
An ACT Policing spokeswoman said they had identified the two women pictured in released CCTV images and they were assisting police with their enquiries.
The ACT Opposition said the government had failed again in its duty to protect public art.
"We’ve previously asked questions about the safety of the On The Staircase sculpture and were told that the government had put in place even more stringent security arrangements to protect it, particularly the little fella at the top of the staircase," ACT opposition arts spokesman Brendan Smyth said.
"You have to question, what has the government done to ensure the safety of public art? If they've got CCTV, why isn't it being monitored and why aren't these people being caught?"
The Canberra community has reacted with anger to the news that one of the city's most iconic pieces of public art has been vandalised again, little more than five weeks after it was restored.
Canberra sculptor Ante Dabro, who has contributed a number of pieces of public art to Canberra, including the Navy Memorial on Anzac Parade and the Resilience sculpture on City Walk, said he was appalled at the news.
"It hurts me," he said. "I don’t know what to say."
Mr Dabro has had his public art vandalised in the past and he said when it happened he didn't know whether to cry or scream or yell.
"I don’t think this should happen in a civilised society. You might not agree with a certain kind of sculpture but it’s art," he said.
The $80,000 sculpture has been the subject of multiple vandal attacks since its installation in 2009, the first occurring just a week after its initial unveiling.
The smallest figure was stolen then, too, and in many attacks since the top two bodies have been wrenched off Danish artist Keld Moseholm's sculpture.
CCTV cameras and increased lighting were installed ahead of the work's restoration in October.
ACT Arts Minister Joy Burch said she was very disappointed.
"On The Staircase is a much-loved piece of public artwork and I’m sure, like me, many Canberrans will be disappointed that this work has again been vandalised," she said.
The minister said she was seeking advice from ArtsACT as to how the vandalism occurred and what the next steps were.