Sunday, May 19, 2013
PORTLAND — Turns out, the eagles landed about two blocks from where they took off.
Police have recovered the two hand-carved wooden eagles that were stolen from Portland's shuttered Custom House building between Oct. 21 and Oct. 22.
Portland police on Friday recovered a pair of hand-carved wooden eagles, worth $25,000 each, that was stolen last weekend from the Custom House, the federal building at 312 Fore St.
Calls from the public led police to the eagles, which were hiding in plain sight: The 150-year-old sculptures were found leaning against a wall in the Ocean Gateway parking garage, at 167 Fore St.
"They were stolen?" asked Steve Meyer, who parks in the garage regularly.
Meyer said he saw the eagles, about 3 feet tall and 2½ feet wide, and the posts they are attached to, leaning against an outer wall of the parking garage's second floor.
He first saw them a week ago, he estimated, in front of a car that was parked in that space. He thought somebody had forgotten them.
"Earlier this week, I didn't park in that space because they were there," he said.
The garage is very busy during the day but almost deserted at night.
The eagles were found by the staff at the private parking garage and put in safe place, said acting Police Chief Vern Malloch.
Police are still trying to determine who took them, and ask that anyone with information call 874-8533.
The federal government believes the eagles were installed when the Custom House was built, from 1867 to 1872, after the great fire of 1866 destroyed its predecessor.
The building was turned over to the General Services Administration in the 1950s and is now on the National Register of Historic Places.
The building is undergoing major renovations, and the eagles were restored and then returned to the building. The gold-painted sculptures were stored in an easily seen location in the building's grand lobby, so the Federal Protective Service was aware almost immediately when they disappeared.
There were no signs of forced entry into the building.
The eagles were found undamaged, still in the bubble wrap they were in when stolen.
Staff Writer David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at: