ZIONSVILLE, Ind. – This is a rare story about a thief making his heist right.
In December of 2014, someone stole a Thomas Kinkade sculpture of Jesus Christ, valued at $7,500, from a Zionsville gallery on Main Street.
The gallery owner thought she’d never see it again until she got a call Monday from the man who took it, with a story to tell.
The man was an addict, high when he came into the gallery and stole the statue. But now he says he’s found a new life and wants to seek forgiveness.
“He proceeded to stammer and say that he was very remorseful, and he was the person that had stolen our sculpture of Christ, and he wanted to get it back to us,” said Rhonda Crawshaw, gallery manager.
The bronze Thomas Kinkade sculpture of Jesus Christ is rare. There are only 30 in existence.
Crawshaw pulled gallery owner Barbara Jennings on the line to speak with the man.
“He sounded so genuine. You could hear the emotion in his voice,” said Jennings, “I felt like there was an earnestness about his voice in what he wanted to do.”
The man wanted to return the sculpture. Barbara drove to a Pizza King in Zionsville to meet him. She pulled up, and there he was, sitting outside with the sculpture.
“I wasn’t afraid per se, but I could tell he was, and I was a little bit nervous,” she said.
The amphetamine addict apologized for his actions.
“The sculpture itself was 20 pounds, but it was a lot more pounds than that of resentment on my back. I just needed to get it off my back and it was time,” he said.
The man explained to Barbara that he’d been hooked on drugs for years. He’s in rehab now, clean since Mother’s Day, with a weight lifted on his road to recovery.
“I was in full addiction, and I went into the gallery with bad intentions,” he said, “I just put it in God’s hands and a higher power… There is help. Just because people are on drugs doesn’t mean they aren’t good people. I’m just here to share my story.”
Back at the gallery, Barbara and Rhonda couldn’t believe the ending.
“I told him that it took a courageous man to come forward,” said Rhonda Crawshaw.
So now the sculpture sits, bringing a lesson in second chances.
“No matter what you’ve done, there’s a way to right it,” said Jennings, “If he can be an example to one person to do the right thing, what a ripple effect that could be.”
Jennings says she does not intend to press charges.
The man says he wants to get married, have kids, and move on with his life, clean.