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The Enigmatic Theft of a Million-Dollar Buddha

Barakat Gallery

A priceless bronze Buddha statue, originating from Japan’s Edo Period, has mysteriously disappeared from Los Angeles’s prestigious Barakat Gallery, leaving behind a series of unanswered questions surrounding the motives and methodologies of this stealthy theft.


A Heist in the Night

A surreptitious intruder penetrated the secured premises of the Barakat Gallery in Los Angeles in the early hours of 18th September, swiftly maneuvering a 250-pound, 4ft tall bronze Buddha statue into a rental truck. This valuable piece, dating back to the Edo Period (1603-1867) of Japan, was not just a piece of art but a representation of a prosperous era in Japanese history, presumably serving as the centerpiece of a temple.

Intricate Details and Attribution

Attributed to the artist Tadazou Iinuma, the sculpture bears an inscription indicating it was commissioned by a religious figure, Ryozen, potentially situating its original location in Yudo-no-San Temple on Mount Yudono, Japan. This unique artifact, due to its aesthetic appeal, historical significance, and meticulous execution, is estimated to be valued at $1.5 million.

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The Disappearance

Security footage revealed a lone perpetrator, using a moving dolly, adeptly navigating the statue into the truck after breaking open the driveway gate around 2:30 am. The swift and focused nature of this operation has led to assumptions of a well-planned, premeditated act. The thief’s sole focus on this singular item and speedy departure indicate extensive knowledge and specific intent.

A Puzzle Unresolved

Paul Henderson, the director of Barakat’s Los Angeles location, expressed profound perplexity regarding the motive behind stealing such a distinctive piece that would be nearly impossible to resell openly. The gallery is cooperating with the Los Angeles Police Department and local businesses, yet no substantial leads have been identified.

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