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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 January 2007, 15:20 GMT
Artist laments theft of US icon
Sergio Furnari statue
The work has been shown at Ground Zero and across the US
A life-size statue based on one of the most iconic US images - 11 ironworkers having lunch on a skyscraper - is a figure short after a daring theft.

Sergio Furnari's sculpture is based on the 1932 photograph Lunch Atop a Skyscraper by Charles C Ebbets.

Thieves nabbed the 100lb (45kg) figure, worth $5,000-$10,000 (2,500-5,000), from the sculpture outside Mr Furnari's studio in New York early this week.

The statue had been used to raise morale during clearing of Ground Zero.

Reward

The sculpture was on a truck that Mr Furnari uses to drive his artwork around Manhattan.

I feel like they stole a part of me
Sergio Furnari

The abducted figure, which had been welded to the beam, was the one on the far right.

Mr Furnari said the work went missing from his Queens studio sometime between Sunday and Tuesday.

The piece had taken him a year to finish and was completed shortly after the 11 September 2001 attacks in New York and Washington.

Mr Furnari told the New York Post: "I feel like they stole a part of me, a part of my life. It has great sentimental value."

He said the Ground Zero construction workers appreciated the sculpture when it was on show there.

"When they were by the statue, they were inspired and realised their work was appreciated," he told the Post.

The piece was later shown across the country.

Mr Furnari said he would give some artwork as a reward for the figure's return.

The original photograph was produced by Ebbets after he was appointed photographic director to record the construction of the Rockefeller Center.

The image, from September 1932, is regarded as one of the most famous of the 20th Century.


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