Central ThailandCrime

Priceless Buddha statue stolen in March found at a bus stop

In Lop Buri’s Tha Wung district, a rare Buddha statue went on a mysterious and strange trip having been stolen in March and just found at a bus stop nearby. The statue was stolen from a local museum in the Central Thailand province at the beginning of March and was spotted yesterday morning sitting at a bus stop.

The statue is of Phra Sri Arya Maitreya, an important figure in Buddhism that represents the future Buddha in heaven. This Buddha will later come to the human Realm after Gautama Buddha. The statue is of the future Buddha in a seated position holding a fan in his left hand and is considered a Priceless historical artefact.

A monk was out collecting food donations yesterday morning and saw the statue sitting alone at a bus stop only one km from where it was stolen. He immediately contacted local leaders and the police to inform them of his discovery. Lop Buri Police suspect that whoever stole the statue dumped it at the bus stop after coming to the realization that selling it or getting any value out of it would be exceedingly difficult. With everyone on the lookout for the statue, it would be hard to find a buyer and they would easily be caught if they attempted to sell it.

The museum is volunteer-run, operated by the “We Love Wat Lai” local conservation organisation, and they were preparing to open a new extension building for the temple Museum. This statue of Phra Sri Arya Maitreya was set to be a highlight of that wing.

Police have suspicions that the theft may have been an inside job, though no arrests have been made as of yet. An advisor for the local Museum group who is also a cultural expert stated that the volunteers running the museum have decided to install CCTV for future security.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

8 Comments

  1. Are they sure it did not self levitate unseen to its present location and the bus stop is in fact the scene of a divine miracle along the lines of lourdes in france?

    if this is the case perhaps a wat should be built around the holy bus stop.

    If somebody had gone to all the trouble of eyeing it up with a view to thieving it surely they would have melted it down and weighed it in rather than abandon the loot at the nearest bust stop.the alleged theft angle of this tale makes no sense.

  2. In Europe museum valuable but unsellable pieces are sometimes stolen on order by high profile criminals. They keep them in secret deposits for the time being. Whenever they are caught for their “normal” businesses like manufacturing drugs, they try to negotiate a lower sentence by offering to “help” recover the work of art. This is common practice in those circles and has already worked for some guys. The unsellable loot also often circulates between criminals when they are dealing between each other. The value for them is a possible lower sentence.

  3. @Ray – Excellent point. Stolen masterpieces can also be “laundered” bartered, swapped for credit, used for collateral, drugs, guns, etc. Finally, it gets in the hands of someone clean enough to collect the 10% reward money. However, I seriously doubt the thief in this case was so sophisticated or was thinking even one step ahead. You may enjoy “The Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt, if you haven’t read it already.

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