CHARLOTTE, N.C. A large bronze sculpture was stolen from a south Charlotte children s center sometime this week.

The three-foot sculpture of three children playing in the rain was taken from the Easter Seals UCP Children s Center at 716 Marsh Road between South Boulevard and Park Road.

The center believes it was taken sometime late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning.

This sculpture was a very special gift to the center and a welcome sight to children arriving to school each day, said Betsy Dailey, Easter Seals UCP community director. The sculpture is beloved by our organization and serves as inspiration for the children that attend our center.

It was bought for $50,000 and given to the center by Irwin Belk in 2002. The statue was designed by local artist Jon Hair.

The person or party responsible for taking this art piece would have needed unique tools to remove the sculpture from its base. With the help of the community and police, we hope that this meaningful art piece can be returned to our school as soon as possible, added Dailey.

The center was named after Irwin and Carol Belk and hosts children from six weeks old to pre-kindergarten.

If you have any information about this incident you are asked to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

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