US: USD 1.5 million ancient Buddha statue stolen from Los Angeles art gallery in a daring heist

A daring heist was caught on camera recently where an old Japanese Buddha statue, which is worth $1.5 million, was stolen from an art gallery in Los Angeles, media reports said.

Old Japanese Buddha statue stolen from an art gallery in the USA. Photo Caption: Barakat Gallery Facebook page

The 250-pound bronze sculpture was jacked from the Barakat Gallery in Beverly Grove around 3:45 am on September 18, Los Angeles Police Department was quoted as saying by The New York Post.

“I prize it so much,” Fayez Barakat, the gallery owner, told KTLA.

“I had it in the backyard of my home and when I moved into this gallery, I put it in the backyard of the gallery for everybody to admire and enjoy," the owner said.

Security video shows the thief pulling up to the gallery in a moving truck. The driver steps out, breaks open a driveway gate, enters the gallery and uses a dolly to move the statue into the truck, KTLA reported.

The owner of the gallery said the entire heist lasted for 25 minutes.

He said he acquired the statue 55 years ago.

He said there is no other piece similar to it in this world at present.

Paul Henderson, the gallery’s director, told KTLA: “We have 200 objects back there, but this is our prize piece.”

He said: "I don’t think there’s another like it on the market anywhere. It’s four feet tall, it’s hollow cast bronze and it’s a stunning piece. It’s really aesthetically arresting and it’s shocking to see something like this go missing.”

“Because it’s an ancient artifact, there’s nowhere where you can sell this piece,” Henderson said. “You can’t go on the market. You can’t take it to a pawn shop and sell it for a few thousand dollars, it’s just not possible. So, it’s very interesting. It’s like a museum heist type thing where, what are you going to do with this object right now? We’re all very curious and really puzzled, to be honest.”

According to reports, no arrests have been made so far.