MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - One week after crooks stole a life-size statue from outside a center that helps abused children, cops are still stumped. There are no suspects and no clues.
The bronze depiction of a turtle, little girl and little boy has special meaning to the Child Advocacy Center. The statue of the little girl is now missing.
It was right outside the building's entrance off Poplar Avenue. Those working there don't know who would steal from them.
"We would love to have our little girl back," says Associate Director Virginia Stallworth.
She was stolen over a week ago, sometime Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. "I can't imagine what would motivate somebody and why they would take her."
The bronze statue was bolted to the ground; whoever took it had to cut part of the metal to remove the girl. "We're saddened by it for what it means for the kids," Stallworth tells abc24.com.
The last ten years, the statue has offered a friendly greeting to children dealing with unimaginable pain and trauma.
"The kids who come here for the first time are coming after a report of child sexual abuse has been made to the authorities." Stallworth says over a thousand kids came to the center last year; they loved seeing the statue.
"Kids talk about it, kids will go and climb on it," she says.
The missing little girl symbolized joy and hope. The statue's total value was around $20,000 when installed, but Stallworth can't put a price on what it means to the center.
"It's got monetary value, but more importantly it's the symbolism and symbolic value for kids who come to the child advocacy center. That's what's most important."
If you've seen the statue or know anything about the theft, call CrimeStoppers at (901) 528-CASH (2274). You can also submit your tip at 528cash.org, or text the word AWARD to 274637 (CRIMES). You will remain anonymous, and you could be eligible to receive a cash reward.