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Police widen investigation into stolen ‘hula hoop’ statue

bronze statue girl with the hula hoop
Bronze statue: girl with the hula hoop

Two men aged 55 and 37 were on Thursday remanded by the Paphos court for four days on suspicion of stealing a 70kg bronze statue worth €10,000 from a public place.

A 43-year-old woman is also wanted in connection with the theft of the artwork in the early hours of Saturday.

The pair were arrested on Wednesday, one at around 5pm and the other at 11pm.

A Paphos CID officer told media that following the arrest of the two men, evidence came up suggesting the statue passed into the possession of two other persons, aged 24 and 50.

Arrest warrants were issued for the two. The 24-year-old has since been arrested and is being detained, while the 50-year-old is still wanted.

Police said that on Tuesday they got a tip that the 55-year arrestee, together with the 43-year-old woman who is wanted, had the statue in their possession.

Reports said the 55-year-old man has admitted to the theft.

Police meanwhile released a 33-year-old woman they had arrested earlier in connection with the case when it became clear she had nothing to do with the theft even though she spent two days in custody.

The ‘girl with the hula hoop’, by artist Iota Ioannidou had been installed at the Hani tou Ibrahim since last autumn. It was the artist’s fourth sculpture to be installed in the town.

The court heard on Thursday that CCTV footage showed the statue being hauled away and a motorcycle in the area coming and going as if on the lookout. Police investigators told the court that the 54-year-old suspect confessed but the second man denies any involvement.

Police sources told CNA, the statue had been chopped into pieces. The artist said on Sunday she would not be able to replicate it as she no longer possessed the original mould.

 

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