The Ithaca Police Department is currently investigating a case of vandalism to the iconic “Child of Ithaca” statue in the Ithaca Commons. On April 21, around 9:55 p.m., an unknown subject approached the statue and removed a bronze cup from the table before running off towards North Aurora Street.
The suspect appears to be a white man, about 20 years old, with an average build and dark colored hair, according to surveillance pictures published by IPD in a press release on May 3, twelve days after the crime took place.
The police said that it will take approximately $1,500 to replace the cup and repair the statue.
The bronze statue is of a woman sitting at a table holding a cup. Located on the Commons on East State Street outside Mansour Jewelers, the human-sized statue was built in 2004 by Prof. Roberto Bertoia, art, to honor Erin Schlather, an Ithacan who died at age 26 in a car crash that year.
Schlather was a Vassar College alumna, a Georgetown law student and a legislative analyst at the Pentagon. Before graduating from Ithaca High School in 1995 as class president, she performed in over two dozen stage productions including at the Hangar Theatre and Ithaca Opera. She was one of the founders of the Orange Tree Theater Company and an active vocalist around Ithaca.
Bertoia told 14850 Magazine in 2016 that Erin’s father, Ithaca attorney Ray Schlather, said “that the resulting piece should be more than an individual memorial and become a celebration of all youth, their hopes, their aspirations.”
“The ‘Child of Ithaca’ sculpture is a celebration of all youth of Ithaca,” Ray told The Sun in response to the vandalism. “This senseless act can be corrected, and in any event will not detract from the positive contributions of our youth to the greater community.”
As of Sunday, someone has replaced the stolen cup, placing a disposable coffee cup from nearby Collegetown Bagels into Erin’s empty hands.
Ithaca Police ask anyone with information that would aid their investigation to contact them at (607) 330-0000 or [email protected].