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