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High hopes for Lady Liberty’s return

The Brooklyn Paper
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Do you want to do something patriotic this Independence Day?

Help bring Lady Liberty back to Vox Pop.

Roughly two weeks ago someone swiped the 200−pound, eight−an­d−a−half foot statue that greeted visitors to the popular independent cafe⁄book store⁄performance space in Ditmas Park. It hasn’t been seen since.

Hopes that the statue will make a grand return before the Fourth of July are dwindling, said Vox Pop owner Debi Ryan.

“At first we thought it was a prank, but I don’t think so since it hasn’t been returned,” Ryan explained. “Right now its probably going to be used as a centerpiece for a July Fourth barbecue.”

Ryan does not believe that the theft was politically motivated, but you never know, especially with Vox Pop’s notably liberal flavor.

She said that the statue has been in front of the store on Cortelyou Road near Stratford Road ever since it opened in 2003.

Just recently, the statue was taken in to be refurbished and made more environmentally friendly −− a “solar torch” was added to the statue to light people’s way.

Just a few days before it disappeared, the statue was re−installed at its resting place outside the store and bolted to four posts driven into the ground.

On the night of June 20 an unpatriotic pair was seen unbolting the statue and carrying it away, Ryan said.

“That’s the most ironic part,” Ryan said. “For years the statue stood in front of the store and wasn’t tethered to anything and no one touched it. But someone steals it after we bolt it into the ground. Did it suddenly become a challenge?”

The only silver lining in the whole ordeal was that the thieves −− whoever they are −− “didn’t trample my garden” when they kidnapped Lady Liberty, Ryan said.

Since its disappearance, longtime customers and area residents have joined the search looking for her.

Last weekend, many participated in a party and rally for their special lady, in which customers took turns sporting a torch, crown and toga and standing where the statue used to be, bemoaning its loss.

“Many people stood in her place with a microphone and explained what the statue means to them,” Ryan remembered. “While our statue was taken, what it represents can’t be taken from us.”

Many more residents chipped in for a reward, which as of Wednesday was up to $175 −− a bit less than the $2,000 that would be needed to replace the statue.

Still, Ryan is hoping that patriotic pride and a thief’s guilty conscience will play a major role in the statue’s return.

“Right now she’s in someone’s basement, backyard or garage,” she said. “I hope whoever took it feels bad about what they did and, once they realize they can’t sell it, bring her back.”

“I would love to walk out there one morning and find that it’s reappeared just as quickly as it disappeared,” she said.

Anyone with information regarding the statue is urged to come forward.

Calls can be made to Vox Pop at (718) 940−2084.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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