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Crime Hoppers: Public Safety Ecosystem Helps Recover Frog Sculpture’s Missing Eye

Midtown’s newest public installation was defaced over the weekend. Here’s how we found the culprits and how you can help us prevent future vandalism incidents.

Published: 05/06/21

BY ELLIE HENSLEY

 

It’s not easy being green.

Midtown’s newest amphibious resident suffered temporary peripheral vision loss over the weekend, just as it was settling into its new lily pad at the intersection of West Peachtree and 10th Streets.

A living sculpture of a frog, on loan from the Atlanta Botanical Garden, was installed on Earth Day in the median to greet visitors entering Midtown.

It received a warm welcome from most Midtowners, but not all —  late Friday night, a group of four young men approached the frog, took a photo with it and then with considerable effort removed one of its eyes and took it.

A screenshot of the footage of the frog's eye being stolen at the intersection of West Peachtree and 10th Street.

Fortunately, the eye snatchers were caught on camera by the district’s video surveillance system, a network of 150 cameras, focused on the public right-of-way, that feeds into Midtown Blue’s offices and the City of Atlanta’s Video Integration Center.

Using the footage, Midtown Blue were able to identify the student housing building the group retreated to after stealing the eye. Public Safety Officers worked with the building’s property manager, who used the building’s interior cameras and key fob technology to identify the culprits. On Tuesday our Midtown Blue officers knocked on the vandal's door and after a brief but sincere mea culpa, we left with the eye. Amphibian ophthalmologists on the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s team reunited the frog with its eye.

We’re able to bring temporary installations, like the frog, to the district because of relationships with partners who trust us to be good stewards. Our goal is to keep improving the street level experience in Midtown. Thanks for helping us look after our public spaces so that together, we can create a place for all to enjoy. The sculpture will remain on view through early 2022 – and we’ll continue to keep a close eye on things.

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ARTS & CULTURE