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Consumer Reports

Trent Lott back on a pedestal | (KRT) PASCAGOULA, Miss. Though it surfaced in an alleyway Sunday night, the investigation continues into who stole a bronze bust of Sen. Trent Lott from the Pascagoula middle school that bears his name.

"We've got our head detective on the case," quipped one police investigator.

According to Pascagoula police, the head and shoulders bust was stolen from Trent Lott Middle School sometime between 8 p.m. CDT Friday and 8 a.m. Saturday.

"On Sunday at around 10 p.m., we received an anonymous call" locating the bust, Lt. Chuck Fowler said. Police eventually located it in an alleyway north of Bienville, and brought it to the police station, he said.

"We processed the bust with negative results," he said. "We have no theories and no suspects at this time."

This is not the first time the bust has been a target. An earlier version was stolen in 1997 and never recovered. In the 1997 case, "we had information that it was in the Escatawpa River ... We even sent divers down, but we didn't find it," Fowler said.

During its adventure, the bust appears to have suffered minor abrasions to the back of its head, though it appeared otherwise undamaged.

Paige Roberts, director of communication for the Pascagoula School District, said that for the sake of the artist who created the monument, which she estimates weighs about 50 pounds, and to preserve Lott's dignity, the bust would be kept indoors in the future.

"It just appears to be an act of vandalism, more than a theft," said Fowler.

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© 2003, Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services