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Museum president fears stolen prized statue may be sold as scrap metal

A statue worth approximately $70,000 was discovered stolen yesterday from the Chaguaramas Military History and Aviation Museum.

And in an apparent weird sense of humour, the thieves left an empty beer bottle on the pedestal from where the heavy bronze bust was taken.

The bust, which weighed approximately a tonne, was of General Francisco de Miranda, who fought in the South American Revolution.

It was donated to the museum in July 2006 by the Venezuelan Embassy. It was unveiled on the bicentennial of his departure from Trinidad in 1806.

Linda Kelshall, president of the museum, yesterday told T&T Guardian the bust was discovered missing around 9 am yesterday when the museum opened. She said the museum does not open on Mondays so it would have been stolen between Sunday night and early Tuesday morning.

Kelshall said her husband Gaylord Kelshall who is the founder of the museum, was distraught over the stolen statue.

“He is in a mess. This museum is so important to him and he can’t believe somebody would steal something like this from us,” told the T&T Guardian.

What’s more distressing to her, she said, is the fact that she believes that the bust, which is made out of brass and copper and took four people to load onto the pedestal, was taken to be sold for scrap metal.

If anyone has information on the stolen bust, they could contact Kelshall at 722-8765.

This is the second major theft at the museum.

In August of 2013, thieves also broke into the museum and stole two historic weapons – a Japanese sword used in World War I in India and a SAR gun.

Officials at the museum said then that the thieves entered the compound and broke a glass case containing the weapons.

The T&T Coast Guard subsequently removed the remaining weapons until further security could be put in place.

Senior tour guide at the museum, Natasha Harris, said then that the reason for the security breach was because the museum was underfunded and understaffed.

About the museum

According to its Web site, the museum opened to the public in 1992 and consists of 12,000 square feet of indoor displays along with outdoor items and memorials on a four-acre site.

Dominating the outdoor displays is the preserved Coast Guard 103 foot FPB TTS Buccoo Reef along with a BWIA aircraft, vehicles and other artifacts.

Getting it right

In an April 2 story on the probe into the death of baby Simeon Cottle, headlined “Panel Probing Cottle’s Death Receives Over $1m,” we incorrectly reported that attorney Debra Coryat received $61,618.96 for her services. Ms Coryat has since clarified that she was in fact paid the sum of $30,809.48. Our report was based on the details of the payment released to parliament by the Office of the Attorney General recently. Our apologies to Ms Coryat for the error.

Source Guardian

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