Thieves made off with four bronze statues, three trucks and a road roller early Monday morning in Cuernavaca, giving the local administration another excuse to complain about the state of Morelos’ Single Command police force.
The four statues, all by contemporary sculptor Miguel Michel, and the vehicles were taken from a municipal warehouse.
The statues had been located in the city’s main square, the Plaza de Armas, since 2010 but were removed in February last year during a renovation of the city’s historic center. The municipality was planning to relocate them to the Museum of the City and municipal headquarters.
A representative of the municipal administration said four armed men entered the storage facility, subdued a night watchman and locked him up in a washroom.
José de Jesús Guízar Nájera blamed the Single Command police system for the lack of surveillance in the area, adding that like the storage facility, many municipal offices lack proper protection.
The municipality and its former soccer star mayor, Cuauhtémoc Blanco, have been at odds with the state government over the controversial Mando Único system.
Despite there being evidence captured by surveillance cameras that the stolen vehicles traveled to the municipality of Huitzilac, the thieves have yet to be detained, Guízar lamented.
He said the cost of the sculptures had not been estimated but that the municipal equipment was worth more than 2.5 million pesos (US $137,000).
Art historian María Helena González López said the theft of the sculptures represented an “unquantifiable” cultural and artistic loss for the people of Cuernavaca.
The pieces had been commissioned for the centenary of the Mexican Revolution in 2010. A fifth statue, depicting Emiliano Zapata on horseback, was left by thieves, presumably because it was too heavy to move.
“It’s a shame that the vandals didn’t take into consideration the heritage that belongs to everyone . . . and that the value the pieces have is part of the state’s cultural and historic wealth,” she said.
The thieves will probably appreciate more the value of the bronze with which they were made.