Life-size statue of famous Cal coach found destroyed

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San Leandro police have recovered a life-size bronze statue that was stolen from the UC Berkeley boathouse, but it was chopped into pieces and destroyed.  Police have also arrested a man for possession of stolen property and felony vandalism.

The 300-pound statue was first reported stolen on January 12th.  It is a statue of Carroll "Ky" Ebright, who coached the Cal crew team for decades.

On Saturday night, an officer with San Leandro PD noticed a parked pickup truck with expired registration.  Upon further investigation, officers discovered that the truck contained the stolen and now vandalized statue. 

The suspect was identified as 46-year-old Dean J. Gamaza.

KTVU first reported the story last Wednesday when the five-foot tall statue of the beloved rowing coach
was discovered missing from its location in front of the boathouse along the Oakland estuary.

"It was a little bittersweet. We found out we got the statue back. To see it in this condition is pretty devastating," said Cole Reiser, a former Cal crew member.  "We're going to explore every avenue to see how it can be repaired or rebuilt," said Reiser. 

The officers who found it, say they immediately recognized it to be parts of the stolen statue.

"They saw pieces of what they thought were parts of a large statue sticking out from underneath the tarp of the bed of the pickup truck," said San Leandro Police Lt. Robert McManus.

The truck was linked back to Gamaza who lives in a nearby home. 

Police say Gamaza is on probation and suspect that he wanted to sell the bronze pieces to a scrap yard.

Pieces of the statue were found in the backyard and were returned to Cal Tuesday morning. 

To the Cal crew, the $80,000 dollar statue is invaluable. 

"These three crews were all underneath 'Ky'. He coached them to three Olympic gold medals," said Riser as he showed KTVU photos of the teams from 1928, 1932, and 1948.

Cal says it will be in touch with the sculptor to see if anything can be done to repair the statue.

"It's a small victory to have it back so we're glad to have it back but it's sad," said Reiser.  The suspect is being held without bail at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin.

On March 12, the Cal crew is holding the "Boys In the Boat Gala" in which proceeds go towards funding a Ky Ebright Scholarship.