SAN DIEGO – A 2-foot-tall, 300-pound “Lorax” statue stolen from the oceanfront La Jolla home of Dr. Seuss’ widow more than a year ago was found Wednesday and returned to the Geisel estate.
Audrey Geisel and a groundskeeper had noticed the custom-made bronze statue, valued at around $10,000 and crafted to resemble the title character of the 1971 children’s book written by Theodore Geisel using the pen name Dr. Seuss, was missing from the garden of the estate on Encelia Drive on March 26, 2012.
The chain of events that led to the recovery of the figurine began last week when a 22-year-old man walked into a police station in Bozeman, Montana, and stated he had knowledge of crimes committed there, in San Diego and in Hawaii, San Diego police Lt. Kevin Mayer said.
The information he provided led detectives to a canyon area covered in thick brush off the 7500 block of Country Club Drive in La Jolla, where the statue was recovered about 9:30 a.m. Wednesday and returned to the Geisel estate, according to the lieutenant.
“We are thrilled the Lorax is back,” said Melissa Hoobler of Legands Gallery in La Jolla. The gallery is full of Dr. Seuss items, but the statue is something of Geisel’s personal collection.
“It was a sculpture her daughter created. There is only two of them, so it has sentimental value,” Hoobler said.
Chuck Jones gallery in downtown San Diego is showing the “Hats off to Dr. Suess” exhibit.
“So many people come into the gallery throughout the course of the year since it was stolen wondering if it has been found,” said Kate Bowerman, gallery spokeswoman. “I am so excited to share the good news.”
Mayer said the investigation into who took the statue was ongoing and charges were pending. He asked anyone with information to call police at 858-522-1700, or Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.