Moment thief busted into LA art gallery to steal 250-pound ancient Japanese ... trends now
A thief slipped into a ritzy Los Angeles art gallery to steal an ancient statue worth $1.5million - with the daring heist caught on security camera.
The bronze sculpture depicting a cross-legged Buddha was swiped from the Barakat Gallery in Beverly Grove around 3.45 am on September 18.
The 250-pound artifact dates back to Japan’s Edo Period, spanning 1603 to 1867, and was believed to have been commissioned for the centerpiece of a temple.
Footage captured the moment a Budget moving truck pulled up to the driveway gate. The hoodie-wearing driver stepped out, busted open the gate and scurried past the cameras on his way into the gallery. Using a dolly, he moved the statue into truck.
The entire process took around 25 minutes, according to gallery owner Fayez Barakat.
'I prize it so much,' he said of the statue. '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.'
West Hollywood's Barakat Gallery is down one ancient artifact, as a bronze Buddha statue was stolen on September 18
Security footage captured the moment a thief broke open the driveway gate and headed into the gallery, only to return in under 30 minutes towing the sculpture on a dolly
The gallery is located in Beverly Grove, a busy shopping and dining destination in Los Angeles
Barakat Gallery features the largest ancient art collection in the world for sale, with other locations in London, Seoul, Abu Dhabi and Hong Kong.
The West Hollywood site opened in January 2017 and features a 7,000-square-foot showroom spread across two stories. The gallery sells a myriad of artifacts ranging from sculptures to jewelry plus a library with a selection of texts related to history, art and anthropology.
But the stolen sculpture was precious, as Barakat said he acquired it over 55 years ago and there is no other artifact like it in the world.
Gallery director Paul Henderson described it as the 'prize piece' out of nearly 200 pieces in the collection.
'It’s four feet tall,