Third man arrested in connection with brass statue thefts

Sheriff’s deputies arrested a third man Wednesday in connection with the theft and destruction of numerous art pieces from the Cambria area.

James Scott Armstrong, 37, remained in San Luis Obispo County Jail on Thursday on suspicion of grand theft, possession of stolen property, conspiracy and a parole hold. No bail was set.

Two other Cambria residents were arrested Monday in connection with nearly $40,000 worth of sculpture thefts. The thefts spanned more than a week on two of the town’s oceanfront boulevards and Main Street, according to Sheriff’s officials.

Shelly Renee Davis, 38, and Gustavo Dejesus, 33, were arrested in Morro Bay on suspicion of grand theft and possession of stolen property. Davis remained in custody Thursday.

Sheriff’s Department Cmdr. Ben Hall said that deputies are seeking any other victims. Hall said at least some of the sculptures were broken apart and sold for scrap-metal value.

Investigators were alerted by an employee of Heilmann Salvage in Atascadero, who was suspicious of items brought in by the pair to sell for cash.

Between Feb. 23 and the first week of March, owners reported six separate thefts of bronze statues from garden areas and front yards of Captain’s Cove and the Seago Gallery on Moonstone Beach Drive and from the 4600-4800 block of Windsor Boulevard on Park Hill. A seventh was stolen from the 1000 block of Main Street.

Values were from $250 to $9,000, and some of the sculptures reportedly weighed as much as 500 pounds. The statues were of young and adult humans, deer and dolphins.

-- Cynthia Lambert and Kathe Tanner