Four charged in Denver Botanic Gardens Chihuly art theft

(Photo: CPR/Corey H. Jones)
<p>Members of Team Chihuly from Washington help install a glass sculpture for the Denver Botanic Gardens 2014 exhibition.</p>
Photo: Chihuly&#039;s &#039;Colorado&#039; glass sculpture at Denver Botanic Gardens
Dale Chihuly's "Colorado" glass sculpture is now on view permanently at the Denver Botanic Gardens.

Four people have been charged in connection with last summer's theft of Dale Chihuly artwork from the Denver Botanic Gardens, the Denver District Attorney's Office announced Wednesday.

Alex Brook, Joseph Parnell, Sean Sorensen, Auvia Bellamy are accused of unlawfully entering the Botanic Gardens on Aug. 22, 2014 and stealing several pieces of Chihuly artwork that were on display.

Brook and Parnell allegedly later took several glass cattails and left them in a corn field near Strasburg, Colorado, according to the Denver District Attorney's Office. The glass orb was recovered; the cattails were found, but destroyed.

Brook and Parnell are charged with criminal mischief and tampering with evidence, in addition to the theft charges.

A team of 11 Chihuly studio employees facilitated the 17-day installation of the glass exhibit, which took more than three years to plan and brought record numbers of visitors to the Botanic Gardens.

The Denver Post reports that officials have not cited a value for the stolen artwork, though art by the famed Seattle-based glass artist has been valued at more than $300,000.

The four will appear in court separately, with Brook scheduled to appear next on Jan. 26.