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Stolen statue returns to Immaculate Heart church

March 18, 2020
Allie Vugrincic , The Town Crier

Thanks to the keen eye of a parishioner and the generosity of a Canfield auctioneer, there is once again a statue of the blessed virgin Mary in front of the parish hall at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church.

"It's like a full circle. Mary was lost and now she's come home," parishioner Joe Fusco said.

A statue of Mary that was once there was stolen some time ago, and the thief was never caught, according to Fusco. With Mary as the church's namesake, it was a disappointment to lose the statue.

Fusco said he wanted to replace the statue, but discovered buying one new would cost upward of $400. Then a few weeks ago, Fusco happened upon a similar Mary statue sitting outside of Stephen Solic III's auction house in Canfield.

"It really wasn't identical to ours, but it was close," Fusco said. He decided to ask Solic if he would sell the statue.

Solic acquired the statue from a house in Poland a few months ago.

"She was actually going to be sold at public auction," Solic said of the statue. He said an auction house employee had lost his key, so Solic moved Mary outside to act as a hide-a-key.

"Every time Alex forgot his key, I would slip a key under Mary," Solic said. "I thought no one was going to mess with Mary. She just became like a welcome statue."

Solic was hesitant to part with Mary, and originally told Fusco it was not for sale.

"When he said it was for a church, at first (my wife and I) were like, I don't know, everybody is always looking for a handout."

Fusco left his phone number with Solic in case he changed his mind about selling the statue, and it didn't take long for him to do so.

"He left and me and my wife, Melissa, both looked at each other and said, we should just give it to them," Solic said. Fusco hardly made it down the street before he turned around to get the statue, which Solic gave to him for free.

Fusco, a carpenter, installed the statue outside the parish hall and anchored it down, so it won't fall prey to thieves.

"And my wife said, 'Well, Mary goes where she wants to go,'" Fusco said.

He said he was impressed Solic donated the statue.

"He doesn't know me from Adam," Fusco said.

Solic said he didnt expect the statue to make such an impact.

"Maybe sometimes the smallest things you do for people can impact people greater than you even know," Solic said. "If more people did small good deeds, life would be a better place."



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