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Suspect accused of vandalizing MLK Jr. monument in Denver turns himself in; search continues for 2nd suspect

MLK STATUE VANDALISM FEB 21 2024_Courtesy of Dr. Vern Howard
Posted at 4:24 PM, Mar 04, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-04 19:25:04-05

DENVER — A suspect in the theft and vandalism of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. monument in Denver's City Park turned himself in, and police are continuing to search for the second suspect.

On Thursday, Robert Duran, 47, walked into the Denver Police Department and turned himself in, police said. He is one of two suspects accused of removing and stealing bronze artwork pieces from the MLK monument. He was arrested for investigation of criminal mischief.

The vandalism was reported on Feb. 21. Dr. Vern Howard, president of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Colorado Holiday Commission, said a bronze panel that depicted Black Americans who fought in U.S. wars was removed, along with two decorative emblems that depicted an angel of love and a torch of freedom. The pieces were recovered from a scrap metal yard about a week later.

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Howard estimated the damage at about $75,000, if not more.

Denver police said based on their investigation, they believed Robert Duran helped damage one of the stolen metal pieces.

They are continuing to search for the second suspect, who has been identified as Herman Duran. Anybody who has information on his whereabouts is asked to call Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867. Anonymous tipsters can earn a reward up to $2,000.

The City and County of Denver and Mayor Wellington Webb commissioned the statue. Unveiled in 2001, it was the vision of Wilma J. Webb, a former state representative and wife of Denver’s first Black mayor, Wellington Webb.

A GoFundMe fundraiser is raising money for the repairs.

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