WYSO

Vandalized Orville Wright Bust Found On North Carolina Beach; Investigation Continues

Oct 16, 2019

A statue bust of Wright Brother Orville Wright has been recovered just hours after it was stolen from the Wright Brothers National Memorial in North Carolina.

An investigation by National Park Service Rangers continues into the vandalism, which also left the statue’s 300-pound granite mounting base toppled over and damaged.

The Wright Brothers National Memorial in North Carolina.
Credit National Park Service / National Park Service

National Park Service staff discovered the recent vandalism to the approximately 40-pound copper reproduction bust and its base in the early hours of  October 13 and sent out an alert seeking tips from the public.  

Officials recovered the missing bust after a beach visitor reported seeing it “tucked” into some nearby dunes.

Michael Barber is spokesman with the Wright Brothers National Memorial, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, and Fort Raleigh National Historic Site. He says this is not the first time the brothers have been vandalized.

“In 1985 they were stolen and recovered and then stolen again in 1987. Over two years later, they were mysteriously placed at the entrance to the park," Barber says. "I don't believe that we know who did it, but they did return them.” 

Vandals toppled a granite mounting base at the Wright Brothers National Memorial in North Carolina.
Credit National Park Service / National Park Service

The Wright Brothers Monument was dedicated in 1932. The original busts were placed at the monument in 1960.