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Moose no longer loose, but other stolen statues still missing in northern San Diego County

April 5, 2011 |  8:51 am

The bronze moose is back. So too are the three metallic children, discovered even before they were reported missing.

But more than a dozen other statues swiped from lawns in northern San Diego County over the last six months remain on the loose, according to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.

Missing are a cast-iron woman in a flowing dress (stolen from Del Mar), two bronze horses (Solana Beach),  a Thai buddha (Vista), a life-size lady with a water pitcher (San Marcos), a Virgin Mary (Ramona), a dolphin (San Marcos) and more.

The moose, weighing 600 pounds, was found in a field near its owner's home in Ramona. The metallic children were found behind an apartment building in Oceanside. In both cases, sharp-eyed civilians are credited.

Why the thefts? Various theories: for resale (the moose market is booming), for melting down for scrap, or for pranksterish vandalism. Most of the statues are valued in the range of several hundred dollars, but some, like the bronze horse taken from Rancho Santa Fe, are worth several thousand.

On Tuesday the sheriff's department appealed to the public for help: Be on the lookout for anyone with a bronze sea turtle (Encinitas) or a bronze boy and girl on a park bench (Ramona), or other collectible that seems out of place.

"Although the statue thefts are still being investigated, it's a success that we're able to return even one," said Sgt. Christina Bavencoff.

Tipsters are asked to call the sheriff's department at (858) 565-5200, or Crime Stoppers at (888)  580-8477.


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-- Tony Perry in San Diego