Mission PD locates missing butterfly sculpture at Palmview flea market, arrests man wanted on 14 charges

Local News

Recovered monarch butterfly sculpture (source: city of Mission)

MISSION, Texas (KVEO) — An investigation by the Mission Police Department led to the recovery of stolen art and left one man behind bars in connection to a long list of thefts and other crimes.

The city of Mission announced Friday that the monarch butterfly sculpture stolen from the Upper Valley Art League (UVAL) had been returned to its location.

UVAL’s sculpture was stolen around January 25 and a search to recover the art initiated.

5X5 Brewing Co., a Mission brewery, joined the effort in February by offering a free daily 16oz beer for life for anyone that located the missing sculpture.

After nearly a month of searching, the investigation was complete when Mission police officers made a routine arrest on a suspect for unauthorized use of a vehicle.

Antonio Ramirez, 31, confessed to the theft of the sculpture and was booked on 14 separate charges (source: Hidalgo County public records)

Police arrested Antonio Ramirez, 31, for this offense and revealed he was wanted on several arrest warrants.

While in custody, Ramirez confessed to stealing the sculpture and told police he sold it to a merchant at a flea market in Palmview.

Police traveled to the Palmview location and retrieved the sculpture without incident.

Ramirez was charged for 14 separate crimes, including seven thefts, that spanned from March 2009 to February 2021. Six of the seven thefts occurred in January and February 2021, the seventh theft warrant did not list an offense date.

The other seven charges include aggravated assault, intentionally giving false information to officers, tampering with government documents, burglary of a building, the aforementioned unauthorized use of a vehicle, and two controlled substance charges.

Ramirez’s total bond for these charges is $59,000. Court records do not yet list when his trial will be set for these incidents.

May be an image of 1 person and standing
Mission PD and the Upper Valley Art League commemorate the return of the monarch butterfly sculpture
(source: city of Mission)

The Mission police officers that located the stolen sculpture were not able to collect the free beer reward due to a code of ethics followed by law enforcement.

“We are grateful to… members of the community who offered leads, for the police whose expertise led to the recovery of the butterfly, and for a local brewery (5 by 5) who took the initiative to offer a reward,” said Robert Codina, director of UVAL.

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