For the third time in the past year an animal art sculpture has been stolen in South Florida, and the owners aren't happy about it.
The latest theft happened at the Malanga Cafe at 12313 South Dixie Highway in Pinecrest when a painted dog sculpture was stolen from in front of the restaurant in the middle of the night, owner Tony Vias said.
"We're super angry, we're angry that the dog was stolen, we're angry that we find ourselves with our hands tied and nothing can be done," Vias said Tuesday.
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Vias said he had purchased the SmArty dog back in March as a fundraiser to help raise money for the public schools of Pinecrest. The dog was purchased for between $3,000-$4,000 and was painted by local Cuban artist Gilda Sacasas.
The dog would have been auctioned for charity and probably fetched much more than the original price but it was stolen in August before it could be sold, Vias said.
“They took their time. I’m sure they didn’t want to damage the dog in any way shape or form," said Vias. "We want the dog back. It meant a lot to the community of Pinecrest.It meant a lot to the restaurant and it meant a lot to everyone involved."
Vias said the incident was reported to Pinecrest Police but so far there's no sign of the painted pooch. He said he's been constantly searching sites like eBay and Craigslist to see if someone tries to sell it.
"The economy is horrific, so when you reach into your pockets and try to help and someone steals it...I'm sure it's gonna show up somewhere for sale soon," he said.
The theft is just the latest of several similar incidents in the Miami area. In July, three life-size deer sculptures, which had been designed by artist Ron English, were stolen from the Wynwood Walls art project.
And last year, a 6-foot Cuban-American rooster was stolen from the sidewalk in front of El Pub on Calle Ocho. Just a weeks later, a statue of pirate Captain Morgan was stolen from the front of a Walgreen's in Key West.