Ronald Reagan statue damaged by vandal returns to Newport Beach park
Just in time for Ronald Reagan’s 101st birthday, city workers in Newport Beach have reinstalled a life-size, bronze statue of the former president in a local park -- after reversing the work of a would-be thief who damaged the artwork in November.
And this time, just in case, city workers also installed a security camera to watch over the statue.
The statue at Bonita Canyon Sports Park was found dinged up and bent after someone apparently tried to pull the figure from its base just a month after it was installed.
Newport Beach spokeswoman Tara Finnigan said it cost about $6,500 to repair the bent bronze base and cement it back into place. In November, some had suggested that private donors foot the repair bill, but the city elected to cover the cost.
The statue, designed by Balboa Island resident Miriam Baker, was paid for with private funds but installed in a public park.
A witness saw a man in a pickup truck pulling at the statue, which had a chain or rope looped around it. Police have offered a reward for information leading to the arrest of a suspect.
Officials speculated that the would-be thief could have been looking to sell the bronze, while others opined that the toppling was politically motivated.
Reagan was born Feb. 6, 1911. He died in 2004 at age 93.
— Mike Reicher
Photo: The Ronald Reagan statue at its initial unveiling in October. Credit: Kevin Chang / Times Community News