Giant Fiberglass Cactus Not Stolen in New Mexico After All

This undated photo provided by the City of Albuquerque shows a $50,000 fiberglass cactus made as part of a public art project. City officials reported it stolen this week from an Albuquerque, N.M., park but later learned that two city employees mistakenly had it hauled off to the dump. (AP Photo/City of Albuquerque)

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By Kelli Sutterman

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The good news about a giant fiberglass cactus reported stolen in New Mexico is that it wasn't the target of thieves.

The bad news is that the $50,000 cactus is in a landfill and won't be returning to the park where it once stood.

Albuquerque city officials reported the statue stolen this week after it was vandalized. Two city employees quickly came forward, saying they removed the bright-green cactus from the park and mistakenly had it sent to the dump.

City spokesman Chris Ramirez said Wednesday that the employees didn't realize the cactus was part of a public art project.

High school students spent a summer building the art piece shaped like a prickly pear cactus. They were part of a nonprofit group that provides art education for at-risk kids.

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