By DINA ARÉVALO and ESTEVAN MEDRANO
Port Isabel-South Padre Press
In a strange twist to the story of the theft of an unique piece of art from the Port Isabel Yacht Club, Port Isabel police have arrested Kent Bigham in connection with the crime. On April 20, former City Manager Edward Meza noted the absence of the sculpture — a five foot long dragon carved from a piece of ivory — from the vacant building and reported it to the police.
In a statement released by police, Bingham, 49, was arrested after an officer responded to a call he made requesting assistance with an unfamiliar child who was in his apartment. When the officer — Pernal Keener — arrived, he found that the “child” was, in fact, a rolled up blanket on a sofa.
According to the statement, “While investigating the call, Officer Keener recognized the ivory dragon sitting on a table in Bigham’s bedroom.” Officers also recovered other items that were reported stolen from the Yacht Club, including a life preserver and two television sets.
Meza was thrilled upon hearing of the dragon’s recovery. “I was amazed when they told me,” he said. “They said, ‘Sir, we found the dragon,’ and I said ‘What?’ And it was just a block or two away from City Hall.”
Detective Armando Mora led the investigation to recover the sculpture, which has an estimated value between $5,000 and $6,000.
Bingham was charged with a state jail felony of theft, according to the statement, and was released on a $10,000 bond.
The dragon sculpture now sits at Port Isabel City Hall.
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