Authorities were on the lookout Tuesday for whoever was behind the theft of a 2-foot-tall bronze "Lorax" statue from the oceanfront La Jolla home of Dr. Seuss' 90-year-old widow.
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Audrey Geisel and a groundskeeper discovered the 200-pound piece of custom artwork missing from the garden of the Encelia Drive estate on Monday morning, according to San Diego police.
The Lorax, a guardian of trees, was made popular again with the recent release of a children's movie.
The portly, bushy-mustached figurine -- based on the title character of an environmental-themed 1971 children's book by Theodor Geisel, who used the pen name Dr. Seuss -- was last seen in its rightful post on Saturday afternoon, SDPD public affairs Lt. Andra Brown said.
Drag marks on the ground showed the route by which the thieves dragged the statue to a street, according to Brown. Nothing else was believed to have been stolen during the heist, the lieutenant said.
"I thought it was one of those pranks that people pull on television so I say, 'Come on you guys. Where is it?'" said property manager Carl Romero.
Romero said the statue is irreplaceable, as the mold was destroyed after it was made. There are three similar statues, but not identical. It sat on the property out of view of the public for 12 years, which is why Romero suspected the thieves had been there before.
"So it's somebody that's been working up on the property. I'm not accusing anybody, I'm not pointing fingers; I don't know," he said.
The 200-pound piece, one of two commissioned by the author's stepdaughter, is valued at $10,000.
"My only thing is, we want it back," said Romero. "But I'll tell you, if we find it in your garden and the police are involved, we're going to prosecute."
Theodor Geisel died in 1991 at age 87.
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