SOUTH MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Police in South Miami are asking for the public’s help after the theft of a colorful and unique manatee sculpture from outside a pharmacy and the crime was caught on camera.
Manny the Manatee has been outside the South Miami Pharmacy since 2011 but thieves stole the 7-foot statue just before 1:30 a.m. on Sunday January 26th.
Surveillance video captured activity outside of the pharmacy at 6050 South Dixie Highway and the thieves were spotted taking off in a Silver or Gray Toyota Rav 4.
“It’s like whenever, whenever something gets stolen from you, you feel that lack of security. You feel like something’s been taken from you, especially something that’s, you know, been with us for so long and it’s such an artistic piece,” said victim Marco Salgado.
Salgado told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, “It’s been with us two and a half years. It’s a very popular piece. It’s one of a kind. We miss it very much. A lot of our patients and community residents come by to take a look and take pictures with it because of its nice, symbolic meaning it has to the community.”
“We feel terrible because a local artist donated this to us and the statue has been with us for two and half years,” said Salgado. His pharmacy has created flyers about the stolen statue and urges anyone with information to call him or his store at (305) 740-9696.
“When I received a call about this stolen manatee I thought it was a joke,” he said. “I mean who would steal a 7-foot tall manatee.”
Police don’t have any suspects or reasons why someone would want to steal the manatee statue. The statue is seen on surveillance tape sticking out of the end of their Toyota Rav 4.
“We’re hoping someone will give us information on this manatee that will lead to its recovery,” said Salgado. “Remember we are offering a $500 reward.”
“It might be done as a prank, might be done to sell it. It’s an expensive statue, so we don’t know why until we actually catch the culprit,” said South Miami Police Sgt. Henry Guzman.
“We are hoping that someone will recognize this statue and call us or Crimestoppers,” said Guzman. “This is a very recognizable statue. It is like a Brito style.”
There are actually ten manatee statues in the City of South Miami.
In addition to a $500 reward being offered by the pharmacy for the recovery of the statue, you could be eligible to receive a reward of up to $1,000 by Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers. So if you know anything about this crime, call Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS.