Who will speak for the missing Lorax?
A 2-foot-tall, 300-pound bronze statue of the beloved children's book character was stolen from Dr. Seuss' California estate.
Audrey Geisel, the widow of famed children’s book author Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel), and her property manager, Carl Romero, noticed the sculpture was missing on Monday morning, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
Footprints on the property suggested the thieves dragged the hefty statue to a nearby road, where they lifted it over a fence.
The statue featured the Lorax, a fantastical creature who speaks on behalf of the trees, holding out his arms while standing atop a stump with the word "Unless" written on it. The piece is valued at $10,000, according to the Los Angeles Times.
In Seuss' 1971 book “The Lorax,” the creature warns about the consequences of chopping down all the Truffula trees. Once the last one is felled, he blasts off into the sky in despair, leaving behind a pile of rocks with the word "Unless."
"The Lorax" was adapted this year into a hit animated movie, with a voice cast including Danny DeVito, Zac Efron and Taylor Swift.
"We don't know if it's just a prank because of the recent release of the movie or if someone thinks it's going to be worth a buck or two because it's a lot of [metal]," San Diego Police Lieutenant Andra Brown told Reuters.
Romero told the Union-Tribune that Geisel just wants the statue returned, and will not press charges if the thieves come forward.
The statue was created by Audrey Geisel's daughter, sculptor Lark Grey Dimond-Cates, for her stepfather. Seuss had no children of his own, and was known for saying, "You make 'em. I'll amuse 'em."
"I want very badly to get our little Lorax back home where he belongs," Dimond-Cates, told the Union-Tribune. "Wherever he is, he's scared, lonely and hungry. He's not just a hunk of metal to us. He was a family pet."
Theodor Seuss Geisel died in 1991 at age 87.
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