Thieves steal Henry Moore sculpture near London

Thieves with a flatbed truck and a crane snatched a two-ton (2,000-kilogram) Henry Moore bronze of a reclining figure from the courtyard of a foundation north of London, police said Saturday. The sculpture, valued at more that 3 million pounds (Ђ4.4 million; US$5.2 million) was stolen Thursday evening from the Hertfordshire county estate, authorities said in a statement.

"This is a very valuable statue and we are working closely with the Henry Moore Foundation to ensure its safe return," Detective Sgt. Graeme Smith of the Area Crime Unit said in the statement. "The foundation is offering a substantial reward for information leading to its recovery." The police statement said three thieves with two vehicles, including one flatbed truck, gained access to the courtyard and hauled away the artwork at 10:16 p.m. on Thursday. Authorities later said the sculpture had been out on exhibition recently and had been moved from its previous location.

The statement did not say whether the theft was filmed on a security video. Moore created some of modern art's most recognizable sculptures, including large, abstract works cast in bronze or carved from stone, using fractured human forms as metaphors for landscapes. The prolific British artist, who died in 1986 at age 88, established and endowed a foundation in 1977 that operates from Perry Green, his 70-acre (30-hectare) country estate and studios 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of London, reports the AP. N.U.

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