The bust of longtime U.S. Sen. Carl Hayden outside the Arizona Capitol has been stolen.
Security staff noticed Monday that the bust, which has been located in the Capitol’s Rose Garden for decades, was missing. House GOP spokesman Andrew Wilder said the Department of Public Safety is investigating the matter.
“It’s a troubling criminal matter that the Speaker is taking very seriously,” Wilder said.
The area where the monument is located adjoins the House members’ parking lot, although the House of Representatives does not directly oversee it. DPS spokesman Bart Graves said the agency is investigation but declined to answer specific questions at this time.
Hayden, a Democrat, was Arizona’s first U.S. House member, elected in the special election that preceded statehood. He represented Arizona in the House from 1912 to 1926, and then ran for U.S. Senate, winning and serving until 1969.
Michael Braun, executive director of the Arizona Legislative Council, said the theft happened sometime since Sept. 9. Braun said DPS and the Department of Administration are looking through footage from security cameras located in the area, though he is not sure what that footage will reveal.
“That will be a bit of a needle in a haystack, especially because that area is not well lit during the dark periods of the day,” he said.
Braun said he is not certain how the bust was affixed to the larger memorial structure but that he saw residual material where it once sat, suggesting whoever took the bust had to physically detach it rather than simply lift it up.
“I don’t know for a fact, (but) I would be shocked if it was merely sitting there,” he said.
Capitol Times Reporter Nathan Brown contributed to this report.