After Thefts, New Security Measures Protecting Painted Benches in Vienna

After two bench thefts, the Vienna Arts Society is determined to keep the remaining 40 benches painted by local artists available for public enjoyment.

When the first bench disappeared, Ken Britz, a Vienna Arts Society spokesperson, said that the art group was disappointed, but knew theft was a possibility.

When the second bench was snatched, though, the Vienna Arts Society decided it was time to work with local law enforcement to institute security measures.

The remaining benches will now be either padlocked or chained down. “It won’t stand in the way of a determined thief, but it will be a deterrent,” Britz said.

On top of the locks, Deputy Chief of Police Dan Janickey said at the Vienna Town Council meeting last week that law enforcement officers will keep a closer eye on the remaining benches.

The Vienna Police Department is still looking for a culprit and doesn’t have any leads yet, Janickey said.

The art group said keeping the benches aesthetically appealing for visitors is their main concern when it comes to adding security measures.

“We don’t wanna make it unsightly or emphasize the thefts,” he said.

Joann Meginley is the owner of Grass Roots Fitness in Vienna and the sponsor of the first missing bench. In coordination with the studio and the arts society, the artist of the bench agreed to recommission a new bench for the location.

Meginley said that it should be completed by Labor Day and will be placed in the missing bench’s original location, outside Meginley’s fitness studio.

The second stolen bench will not be recommissioned, because the artist is on vacation and will not have time when they return, Britz said.

The benches are available for public viewing throughout the town until they go to auction on Nov. 2.

Photos in the last image via Susan Scanlon and the Vienna Arts Society/Facebook

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