October 14th, 2016
Source: Brandenton Herald
The Miami man believed to have stolen and beheaded the statue of a plump, naked Donald Trump from atop a Wynwood art gallery won’t be prosecuted after all.
The reason: The anti-Trump developer behind the artwork declined to pursue charges, prosecutors announced on Wednesday.
“The goal was to bring awareness to both art and politics,” said David Lederman, the lawyer for developer Moishe Mana, who had the iconic statue placed atop the Harold Golen Gallery.
“Although we never anticipated it being stolen, it has helped reinvigorate interest in the statue and Donald Trump’s political views. We didn’t feel pressing charges would be appropriate, especially if it would harm this young gentleman’s future.”
The work, entitled “Emperor Has No Balls,” is said to be worth about $50,000. It was created by INDECLINE, an anonymous art collective that highlights political issues.
Knock-offs of the unflattering statue have popped up across the country. It stands about 6 feet tall, has a pinkish or peach skin tone, shows cellulite and portrays Trump’s hands resting on a sagging belly. It also shows his privates — sort of.
The Miami statute was loaned to Mana, a Democrat and Hillary Clinton supporter who has pledged $1 million to charity if Trump releases his tax returns.
The statue made its way to Wynwood last month, garnering plenty of publicity and gawkers.
Then on Sept. 22, around 3 a.m., a witness said he saw a man walking on the roof of the gallery, 2294 NW Second Ave. Police said Pedro Rodriguez, 36, broke off the statue — leaving its feet in place on the roof — and dropped it in the back a pickup truck below.
A security guard managed to snap a photo of the license plate of the truck believed to belong to Rodriguez, a so-called “graffiti guide” in the Wynwood arts district.
Rodriguez, who has a history of criminal-mischief arrests, later surrendered to police but refused to talk to detectives. Somebody dropped off the statue at the Miami police station — its head had been chopped off, but clumsily reattached.
He was charged with grand-theft and burglary. Prosecutors will formally announce make their decision to not file charges on Oct. 24 at Rodriguez’s arraignment.
Court records did not list a defense lawyer for Rodriguez.