The tracks along the snow-covered roof told officers the crime couldn’t have happened much more than 48 hours prior to inspection, but who could have carried the 40-pound statue off without being noticed?
A statue was stolen from the Hotel de Paris museum in Georgetown sometime on or before March 4, according to Kevin Kuharic, executive director of the museum.
After exiting the restroom on March 4, Kuharic noticed the Putti with Pan statue was missing. His first thought was the wind blew it off the roof. After inspecting the premise, he realized it was something more sinister.
“I quickly realized it was nowhere to be found, so I contacted the Georgetown police,” he said.
Georgetown police arrived at the scene and carried out an investigation for the missing art. They analyzed footprints, and officers found that suspect/s accessed the roof on the south side of the annex, which allowed access to the statue located on the roof of the west courtyard wall.
Georgetown Police Sergeant John Gaskins responded to the incident. Based on the footprints he examined, Gaskins believed the impressions revealed a timeline for the theft.
“I do believe it could’ve been within two or three days of the report,” he said.
The statue resembles a bird bath, is about 36-40 inches tall and weighs 40 pounds. It was made in 1890 and is a part of a pair of culturally significant statues at the museum, according to Kuharic.
This isn’t the first time someone attempted to abscond with a piece from the museum. In 1954, the year the Hotel de Paris became a museum, some kids tried to steal a lion statue. Ultimately, the kids damaged the statue but never got it off the property, according to Kuharic.
Kuharic isn’t convinced this theft is the same kind of pubescent prank. He believes someone strategically removed it, heist-style.
“It appears someone scoped out the item,” he said.
But what could someone want with a glorified 1800s bird bath? Well, Kuharic said it could fetch you a bit of money on the lawn ornament black market.
“An item like this would be highly desirable as a garden ornament,” he explained.
Truthfully, the museum just wants the statue back. The museum is a Site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and a statue like this is priceless to the museum’s history.
“We would like to have it returned,” Kuharic said. “There is no way to replace it.”
Hotel de Paris was a hotel originally opened by French immigrant Louis Dupuy in 1875. A man with a criminal history himself, the museum won’t forget its ties to Dupuy, who struggled before he found success.
“The story of Louis Dupuy is that of second chances,” Gaskins explained. “(The museum) agreed that if someone would return the statue, there would be no questions asked.”