Bronze Horse Theft in Thomasville

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The mystery of a stolen, pricey bronze statue in Thomasville is now solved, and you won't believe the motive behind the heist that now has one local man facing serious time in the state penitentiary.

It's a case that left investigators baffled.

"We think he didn't use real good judgment to do that."

Residents in the Shallowbrook Farms subdivision are asking “why?” A huge bronze horse about eight feet long and six feet tall that used to be in the front entrance was stolen.

John Stallman, a Shallowbrook Farms resident, says, "We just wondered who would take our horse because it lets people know where Shallowbrook is, because right now we don't have a sign there, just a horse. It's a symbol to us."

The statue is worth $4,000.

INV Tim Watkins with the Thomas County Sheriff's Office says, “We thought someone wanted to steal it to melt it down because of the bronze or sell it for the weight."

But a tip from a citizen lead to the suspect and subsequently an arrest.

James Barden of Thomasville confessed to his wrongdoing and told authorities he had been drinking one night and his friends dared him to do it after which he took it to the Ocklocknee River bridge on Georgia 202 and dumped it over.

Tim Watkins adds, "He discovered once he had it there was nothing he could do with it. He could not conceal it."

The statue has been returned to the owner and though it's not back in its home yet, news of the recovery spread through the subdivision.

John Stallman says, "We're glad it's back. All day we've said ‘the horse is back!’"

The suspect was charged with felony theft by taking, which carries up to 10 years in the state prison. Residents say they were told the statue should be back in its place in about three days.