Police searching for cyclist over statue theft

Picture: Bathers Beach House/Facebook
Picture: Bathers Beach House/Facebook

POLICE are searching for a cyclist believed to be involved in the theft of an iconic Fremantle artwork last week.

The “Bella” statue depicting a bikini-clad swimmer was created by local sculptor Greg James and has been attached to a bench on Mews Road, along Bathers Beach, since 2011.

Police said the offender or offenders stole “Bella”, which was valued at $50,000, at about 3.30am on October 9.

This morning, police have released images of a man wanted for questioning, who was last seen travelling in an Easterly direction along the cycle lane, parallel to the Fremantle Station rail line with the distinctive bicycle trailer.

Picture: WA Police

James said a fishing boat harbour member rang him to check whether the statue has been taken back to his studio this morning.

“I didn’t know anything about it,” he said.

“I’m hopeful it’s just a bit of a prank and someone will return her pretty quickly.”

James said “Bella” weighed more than 100 kilograms and was securely mounted to the bench on Bathers Beach.

“I think about a year ago, the Department of Transport replaced the bench but I know they would secure her well,” he said.

The statue is no longer on the bench in Fremantle. Picture: Beach Bathers House/Facebook.

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said he was saddened and angry that someone would want to steal “Bella”.

“Bella was one of the most photographed public artworks in Fremantle and she was loved by visitors and locals alike,” he said.

“I sincerely hope the people who stole Bella come their senses and return her in one piece.”

Mr Pettitt said the statue’s location was not covered by the City’s CCTV cameras as it was on land managed by Department of Transport.

“But we will make the CCTV vision we do have available to the police to assist with their investigations,” he said.

James said the theft was a loss to the Fremantle community and what the artwork stood for.

“The whole point of the Bella sculpture is on the little plaque next to it, it’s the ability to be who you are,” he said.

“It’s about wearing whatever bikini you like or whatever sun hat you like.

“It’s a shame someone has to change that.”

Anyone with information can contact Fremantle Detectives on 9431 1228, CrimeStoppers on 1800 333 000 or report online at www.crimestopperswa.com.au.