Jack Strover stole a Land Rover from Great Chart in January last year and used the vehicle to help him steal a group of three bronze statues from another property the same night.
At around 6.30pm on 3 January 2021, the Land Rover was stolen from a property and seen leaving in convoy with a small silver car.
Later the same evening, the stolen car was seen outside the property in Wittersham with a tow rope attached and pulling large items behind it at a speed fast enough to make them bounce along the ground.
The items were three statues which made up a bronze sculpture and were stolen from outside the property.
The sculpture, known as the Dancing Ladies, was created by artist Sophie Ryder and featured three ladies dancing in a circle, each with large hare heads.
Members of the public found two of the statues abandoned on the roadside and in a severely damaged state.
The stolen vehicle was found by its owner the following morning, also damaged and unable to start.
Strover, formerly of Ashford, was arrested less than two weeks later for another matter and was found with a mobile phone and sim card, which contained video footage of the stolen statues, as well as screenshots of the media appeal released by Kent Police.
An investigation by the Chief Constable’s Crime Squad led to 34-year-old Strover being charged with theft of a motor vehicle and theft.
He admitted both offences in court and was sentenced at Canterbury Crown Court on Friday 11 March 2022 to 24 months in prison.
Detective Sergeant Jay Robinson of the Chief Constable’s Crime Squad said: ‘Jack Strover broke this sculpture during his attempts to steal it so although parts were recovered, they were left damaged. The footage we uncovered as part of our investigation showed how little the thief cared about preserving the statue and its artistic value – it was scrap metal as far as he was concerned.
‘He showed a level of disregard and selfishness towards the victims affected, he stole what he wanted, damaged items as he fled, and sold what remained. He then saved footage of the offence, like trophies, on his phone, which ultimately left him caught red-handed and facing prison time.’