The creator of a recently stolen ram’s head sculpture in Penticton is making a plea to the public, in the hopes it is returned to him.
Not only is the sculpture worth something to him financially, but it also serves as an opportunity for him to learn and improve his future work.
The Western News previously reported that some time between April 23 and 28, the sculpture was stolen. It had been on public display in the 600 block of Lakeshore Drive.
Lars Baggenstos is offering a reward, in the form of a smaller sculpture, if the Ram’s head is returned. Additionally he said if it is dropped off, and Baggenstos retrieves the sculpture intact, he will not press charges.
“If the people who stole the sculpture have it, choose to just deposit it somewhere I can find, unharmed, I will not push any charges,” he said.
“If they’re found, or if the police find them, then obviously I will charge them with everything I have. But if they just return it, then sweet, that’s all I want.”
With a buyer now interested in purchasing the Ram’s head, he said it is imperative he gets the sculpture back. He, like others, has been hurt financially because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The people who take the sculpture are not hurting someone who is well off, and doesn’t really care about it, I just hope to stir a little bit more attention to it,” he said.
This is the first piece of public art that has been stolen from him, explained Baggenstos.
By chance, he found out it was stolen. Driving through Penticton, Lars Baggenstos thought he would stop to check out how the sculpture held up in the elements through the winter, and take up-to-date photos.
When he arrived at Penticton’s waterfront, he discovered it was gone. The art was a part of the Penticton Public Sculpture Exhibit which ran from May 2019 to April 2020. Baggenstos’s piece was one of six pieces which was selected by the City of Penticton to be displayed along the Okanagan Lake waterfront, at City Hall and the Front Street roundabout.
The piece, an intricately carved Bighorn rams head, might appear to be unfinished. However the pieces of wood not carved represents the effort of humans to save the species.
With the sheep as an icon of the Okanagan, the sculpture represents both a conservation success story, and the resilience and vulnerability of nature.
“I found out that the population of Bighorn sheep has quite a moved history, with getting extirpated and reintroduced, where there were like (only) a few left,” explained Baggenstos. “I thought it was quite an intriguing story with people trying to get them back, and the Bighorn sheep trying to adapt…
“I thought it was a nice subject to take on.”
It also represents steps to a positive and environmentally-friendly future.
Before moving to Peachland the Switzerland native spent four years in the heart of the Bernese Alps learning the wood carving trade. Baggenstos also spent five years working in sculpting in mediums from wood to stainless steel, the urge to broaden his skill-set still led him to a bachelor of arts in visual communication with a specialization in scientific visualization.
He has since worked as a freelance illustrator for history museums, as well as theater and movie sets.
Having since moved from Peachland, Baggenstos now lives in Rossland.
As of Thursday May 21, Penticton RCMP was not able to provide an update on this file.
Should anyone have information, they’re encouraged to call the Penticton RCMP, 250-492-4300, or Crime Stoppers 1-800-222-8477. Baggenstos can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.