RUTHERFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A bizarre heist in one New Jersey town has people scratching their heads. Thieves stole an 800-pound statue off the roof of a local Elks lodge.
The big question is how did they pull it off?
There’s not much left of the statue that adorned Elks Lodge 547 in Rutherford for more than 60 years.
“The elk would be standing on the roof with lights on it facing the train station with his antlers spread, welcoming them to come and stay at the Elks if they were a member Elk,” member Richard Rovito told CBS 2’s Elise Finch.
“Just before Sandy a few of us got onto the roof and put it on its side. We were afraid it was going to come down with the high winds. We removed the antlers and head,” lodge treasurer Joe Europa said.
Members moved the head and one leg inside, but the rest of the statue was left on the roof. A few days ago they noticed it was gone. People CBS 2’s Finch spoke to weren’t concerned about who stole the elk or even why.
But they were curious about how it was ripped off since the statue weighed nearly a ton.
“To be honest with you, I have no idea why someone would want the body of an elk,” Rutherford resident Ryan Monaghan said.
Members figure the thieves must have thought the elk was made of a valuable metal that they could sell for big bucks. However, CBS 2’s Finch has learned the statue was made of a mix of metals worth less than $200.
Lodge members filed an insurance claim, not for the stolen elk but for building damage the thieves caused while committing the crime.
“They broke it into smaller pieces and threw it over the roof in different spots,” Europa said. “It’s just senseless they did thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to the building for an elk that’s probably worth maybe $100, and if they needed something we would have gladly given it to them.”
The Elks were already collecting money for a new statue. It will be made of aluminum and plastic and should be ready by spring to once again welcome members to the lodge.
The Elks are a charitable, social and service organization that raises millions of dollars for charities every year. Now they’ll have to raise a little extra for their new elk.
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