Saturday, September 04, 2010

The wind bell

I am embarrassed to say I don't know if this item has been stolen or not. This is an Arcosanti cast bronze wind bell, given to me by a friend as a thank-you gift for being a part of his wedding in 1992.  It spent most of the next fifteen years sitting in its gift box until it finally occurred to me sometime in late 2006 or early 2007 that I had a house, and that this bell would look great hanging on my front porch.  It did, but I became increasingly paranoid about it being stolen by scrap-metal thieves.  It was still hanging on my porch on Halloween of last year, which is when I took the picture in which the wind bell appeared in the background.  Sometime after that my paranoia got the better of me, and I took down the wind bell and stored it securely in the house.  Or so I thought.

I can't find it now.  I would have sworn that I had it stored on the "living" side of the house, but I can't find it anywhere there.  If I put it on the "storage" side - the side that was robbed - I can't find it there, either.  If I did put it there, I cannot say exactly where over there I put it.  No spot jogs my memory when I look around.  But the insert explaining the making of Arcosanti bells was on a bookshelf there.  How did it get there, unless I took it from the box and placed it on a nearby bookshelf?

If the thief (or, more likely, thieves) took it, how did they find it?  It would have been back in the paisley-patterned gift box, which I also cannot find.  It would not have been obvious.  They would most likely have had to literally trip over it - the house did not show signs of being ransacked (despite how it might have looked to others), but some things were knocked over as they blundered across various footlockers and boxes of books and magazines.  Was the gift box sitting on top of one of these?  Did it make the characteristic sound of a heavy bronze bell when it fell over?  Did the thief or thieves see this as a bonus item, something to take along with their haul of copper pipes and brass pipe fittings?

And what happens then?  Would they keep it for themselves?  I doubt there are many (or any) other Arcosanti wind bells in town.  If I spot one on someone's front porch, can I safely assume it is mine?  Will they try to pawn it, or sell it on eBay?  Or will they only look at it for its scrap metal value?

I will try to make the rounds on local scrap yards and pawn shops with the picture above.  Each Arcosanti wind bell is unique in its design and patina, so this image may serve for identification, if not proof of ownership.  And then what?  Buy back my own property?  Demand to know how it came into their possession?  Threaten a subpoena?  Start bribing someone to give me the information I want?

I could be wrong.  I have also spent much of the past few days thinking that the bag of styrofoam skulls I put over in that house last year (total cost to me: $4 - one of the five skulls is on display next to my gargoyles on the other side of the house)  was also missing.  This morning I found it while searching for the bell.  So there's still a chance that the box and the bell may be hiding somewhere in the house, waiting to pop out and say "Here we are!"

And if I find it, then what?  I will never put it on display again - the threat of metal thieves is real, not just a hypothetical anymore.  So most likely the box and the bell would then go into an even more secure storage location, never to see the light of day again.

UPDATE, 9/6/10: Never mind. After locating the box yesterday, I found the bell itself this morning, cleverly hidden under a pile of seasonal decorations near my door. It's now back in the box and going into secure storage.

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