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Theft of painting prompts $400 reward offer

October 12, 2011 - Tony Sandrin is fed up with thieves and vandals ruining the Polly Ann Trail, and he's not going to take it anymore.

That's why the 38-year resident of Oxford is offering a $200 reward for any information that leads to the recovery of a painting stolen from the trail where it intersects W. Drahner Rd. and/or the arrest of whoever's responsible for the crime.

"I think it's terrible what's happening in our town," Sandrin said. "Signs are torn down on the Polly Ann Trail. Benches are turned over. We've got to put a stop to it."

A reproduction of the famous masterpiece "Talking Oak," painted by Victorian-era British artist William Maw Egley was stolen from the trail sometime over the weekend of Sept. 24-25. The painting was originally placed there by the Detroit Institute of Arts as part of the museum's Inside/Out project.

Sandrin's friend and neighbor, Katherine Jennings, was also greatly disturbed by what happened.

"I was thoroughly disgusted," she said. "I wasn't surprised. Disappointed? You bet. But not surprised."

That's why Jennings agreed to contribute an additional $200, bringing the total reward up to $400.

Sandrin and Jennings are "hoping to get a movement going" in which other concerned citizens contribute money to increase the size of the reward.

"People need money right now," Jennings said. "They may respond to this. They may say, 'Hey, I know who did that.'"

Sandrin is an avid user of the trail and he thinks it's a "disgrace" that some people are choosing to damage it and steal things.

"Lately, it's getting to be really bad, really bad," he said. "It upsets me. You have beautiful things done for the people who love to walk trails and they destroy the maps and the (directional) arrows. It's just too much. You've got to put a stop to it somehow."

"It would be nice if they could have (police) patrolling the trail to be able to catch some of these people," Sandrin noted.

Jennings believes it's time for Oxford residents to take a stand against those who vandalize and steal on both public and private property.

"When are we going to call a halt to the destruction?" she said. "I would just like to see an end to all this. Whether (the culprits) are 14 or 45, it doesn't matter – let's end it. Let's find out who's doing this destruction out here.

"I honestly don't know what their purpose is . . . I don't understand it. I don't take things. I don't destroy things. I try to keep things pretty."

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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