WAYNE, NEW JERSEY, November 14, 2012 (northjersey.com): A 300-pound statue of the Hindu God Siva has been stolen from the Indian Cultural Society Hindu Temple and Mahatma Gandhi Center, according to temple officials who plan to offer a reward for information leading to an arrest. The statue, valued at around US$6,200, was perched on a hill on the temple grounds on Preakness Avenue and is made of a five-metal alloy that contains copper gold and silver.
The statue was last seen around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, and it was discovered missing at about 10:15 a.m. Wednesday, police said. The thieves left a fresh tire track in the grass and boot prints could also be seen, authorities said. The temple's camera system was not working, police said. An equally large statue, of Nandi the bull, was left behind. The theft occurred the night after Diwali, which Sanjay Desai, a member of the temple's committee, compared to Christmas. Wednesday was the Indian new year. As they arrived for the new year's celebration, worshipers were stunned to learn that the statue had been stolen.
"It's heartbreaking," said Desai. "People come from all over to worship here. As they find out, it's beyond what they can conceive." Desai said he has called friends throughout the country to tell them that the statue was stolen. He said donations are beginning to come in for a reward, which has not been set.