Paul Pickel's prayers have been answered. Well, sort of.
It was exactly a month ago today that Pickel, owner of a Vero Beach, Fla., stained-glass studio, learned that $100,000 of his artwork had been stolen in Philadelphia.
An 8-by-12-foot mosaic of Italian saint Padre Pio and two stained-glass windows depicting the Ascension of Christ were stored in a van that was stolen from a motel parking lot near Philadelphia International Airport.
Pickel, 65, feared that his meticulous work would have been for nothing and that his works would be lost or destroyed, possibly putting his studio in jeopardy.
But Pickel's tale of woe took, ahem, a miraculous turn on Wednesday, when police found the stolen van at 6th Street and Nedro Avenue in Olney. The Padre Pio mosaic was inside, apparently unharmed, but the stained-glass windows were gone.
Still, Pickel is counting his blessings.
"My dad is actually going to fly up to Philadelphia on Monday to see the mosaic," said his daughter, Lisa Pickel. "He's thrilled."
Lisa Pickel said it took her father's artists almost a year to complete the mosaic and stained-glass windows, parts of which were made in Italy.
His employees had stopped at the motel, on Tinicum Boulevard near 88th Street, last month on their way to the Bronx, where they were due to deliver the artwork to St. Raymond's Cemetery.
When the pieces were stolen, Pickel's spirits were crushed.
"He was jubilant over how the artwork came out," Lisa Pickel said. "He only does a few projects of this magnitude each year, so he was a little worried it would have hurt his company."
No arrests have been made in the case. *
When we transport windows, I always contact my insurance agent and get a special rider which covers the ENTIRE cost of the windows should there be an accident or theft during transport. It doesn't cost that much and certainly is worth the peace-of-mind should something catastrophic happen. A recent project transported was well over 200K and cost a few hundred dollars to insure. Best few days of insurance I ever bought!