Authorities in the Morelos capital of Cuernavaca have turned to Interpol for help in solving the theft of nine bronze sculptures and busts.
Thefts of the statues began in June and even occurred right under the noses of municipal authorities.
Four bronze statues were stolen that month from a municipal warehouse, along with three trucks and a road roller.
The pieces were all by contemporary sculptor Miguel Michel and depicted three soldiers that fought alongside Mexican Revolution General Emiliano Zapata and an adelita, or soldadera, as women who took up arms and joined the revolution are known.
In October, a group of statues dedicated to children’s music composer Francisco “Cri Cri” Gabilondo Soler were stolen and damaged in the process.
The statues depicted the composer and three children and were located in a park to the side of the municipal market. Thieves cut off parts of them and carried them away.
Last month, three bronze mushrooms, each measuring more than 1.5 meters in height, were stolen from inside municipal headquarters, a facility supposedly under constant surveillance by the municipal police.
Also in November, a bronze bust of movie actress María Félix was also stolen from a Cuernavaca park. Félix was a long-time resident of the city and donated the sculpture herself.
Municipal spokesman José de Jesús Guízar Nájera told the newspaper Milenio he fears that the stolen pieces are being melted down to sell off the bronze.
Another line of investigation is that some pieces, including the three mushrooms and the bust of Félix, are being sold on the black market.
“Each and every one of has an inestimable historic value . . . .” Guízar said.
The director of the Culture Institute of Cuernavaca concurred, declaring that the stolen art has a social value that goes beyond the market price or the value of the material from which they were made.
“Their artistic aspect becomes social value, because the people get to know them and to see themselves in them,” said Hugo Juárez.
He lamented that the thieves ignored that. As a society “we’re disrespecting everything . . . this is an historic and cultural identity crisis.”
Source: Milenio (sp)