The wild story of a stolen San Jose statue got wilder when a reporter found the missing statue in a scrapyard. But that proved the statue was only worth a few hundred bucks as scrap metal, and the city is not willing to cough up $100,000 to put it back up.
Do not be fooled by appearances. The statue seen below of 1600s-era Indian political figure Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is only four feet tall. (Though larger than the “Not even 2 feet” that the author of the tweet describes.)
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj at San Jose....but this statue is really tiny ☹️ Not even 2 feet pic.twitter.com/gsXNWEGlN9— The Penguin (@Moskvaa) December 13, 2019
And the statue has quite a backstory, having been gifted to San Jose as part of their sister city program with the Indian city of Pune in 1999. The statue was stolen in January, according to the Bay Area News Group, though their reporter Gabriel Greschlar found the statue hours after his article about the theft was published. It was found next to a Coca-Cola machine in the lobby of a scrapyard called Tung Tai Group, which had been cited multiple times for receiving stolen metals and stolen catalytic converters.
The statue had apparently been sold by the thieves for $800, and had been sawed off at the feet, so it is no longer technically intact.
Now the Bay Area News Group is reporting that the San Jose-Pune sister city group doesn’t have the money to re-erect that statue. The costs of putting it back up are estimated to be as high as $100,000, but the metal on the statue is only worth an estimated $800.
The city is looking at more affordable ways to honor their sister city relationship with Pune. “The door hasn’t closed on this,” spokesperson Carlos Velazquez of the San Jose Office of Economic Development and Cultural Affairs told the News Group. “But we’re holding the door open to see what may come for future opportunities.”
This is not the first time the statue was stolen. Per the Bay Area News Group, “In 1999, when the statue was first transferred to the city, it was held in [president of the San Jose-Pune sister city organization Suneel] Kelkar’s garage. Thieves broke in and took the statue before disposing of it on a San Jose trail. It was recovered after a jogger ran by it and $1,500 was spent on repairs.”
Image: @chukkaram via Twitter