$9M diamond-encrusted eagle statue stolen from owner’s backpack
A $9-million eagle statue that is considered by some to be the most expensive contemporary art piece in Canada has been stolen from its owner’s backpack.
Ron Shore was leaving a Christian concert at Pneuma Church at 57th Street in Ladner, B.C. around 10 p.m. Sunday when he was allegedly mugged by two men on the way to the car.
Police say he was taken to hospital with minor injuries, and has since been released. The statue, however, did not escape from the mugging.
The Maltese Eagle was commissioned in 2009 in Vancouver. Artist Kevin Peters created the eagle over many months using 14- and 18-karat gold.
The most expensive feature is the “Atocha Star” emerald, which was recovered from the 1622 Atocha shipwreck. The 12.72 carat emerald has been appraised at US$6 million.
Its body is made from 18 pounds of solid gold and the head includes 736 diamonds weighing 56 carats.
“As the years have gone on, the emerald has gained in fame, and gained greatly in value, and that’s why it’s the most expensive part of the statue,” Shore told CTV News on Friday, when the statue was on display at the Convention Centre as part of the Art Vancouver Fair.
Shore says he has been trying to sell the eagle statue so he can hold an annual benefit concert to raise money for breast cancer research. His sister-in-law died of the disease just two days after giving birth to baby girl.
The eagle isn’t his only venture – Shore’s also tried eight times unsuccessfully to get on Donald Trump’s show “The Apprentice.”
CTV News has learned Shore wasn’t shy about telling people attending the church concert about the precious cargo in his backpack.
“He says he came from a Vancouver art gallery, and has a piece of art in his backpack,” said Jim Murphy, who was at the church that night. “He was wearing a backpack when he was talking to me.”
Shore declined to say whether or not he has insurance, but says he always has a security person with him – including the night of the theft.
“I took my inheritance, mortgaged my house, all my savings… to get this built,” Shore said, noting that he runs a telecommunications company.
“Ten years of my life’s work gone in seconds.”
Police say they are reviewing surveillance footage from the incident.
An investigation is ongoing. Anyone with tips about the eagle’s whereabouts or information about the crime is asked to call 604-946-4411.
With files from CTV Vancouver’s Mi-Jung Lee