It’s a story right out of a 1940’s era Film Noir: the daring heist of a multi-million dollar jewel encrusted statue. But the Delta theft of the solid gold Maltese Eagle is no work of fiction.
With a name inspired by the famous Maltese Falcon, it’s darkly ironic that the Maltese Eagle has met a similar fate.
Delta police say around 10 pm last night, someone stole the statue from a home on 57th Ave. near Ladner Trunk Road, leaving the victim with minor injuries.
The owner told says he was transporting it outside the home when he was attacked and the Eagle taken.
“I’m hopeful, very hopeful that the police will be able to find the Eagle. In the case that they aren’t able to find the Eagle again, I’m hoping that the business community and the music community will band together to help me in fulfilling my vision of creating a concert series to make a real difference in the fight against breast cancer.”
Multi million dollar piece
Eighteen pounds of solid gold, with a cape of diamonds and a massive $6-million emerald recovered from a 400 year old shipwreck, the Eagle is believed to be the largest gold statue of its kind.
B.C. sculptor Kevin Peters, who created the piece says it’s the 5th largest gold casting in last 500 years, and worth $6 and $9-million.
“When we cast it it was $700 an ounce in gold, and now I don’t know what it is, $1400? The value of the thing goes up and down. As well as the 762 karats of diamonds.”
Worse, he says the piece, which took him nearly four years to create, will likely be destroyed by the thieves.
“Unfortunately what will probably happen is that all of the jewels will be pulled out of the head because it had basically a cape of diamonds. And the eyes were pear shaped diamonds. And it has three types of gold and will be probably melted down.”
He says the theft is surprising, since a piece like that would normally be under heavy security and that the thieves had likely been casing it for some time.
The statue was commissioned by Randy Shore, and according to his website it was created to raise money in the fight against breast cancer in memory of his sister in law.
Shore’s website says funds raised from its sale were to be partially donated to research, and partially given to the winner of “The world’s greatest treasure hunt,” a competition also developed to help raise money and awareness around breast cancer.
Considered Canada’s most expensive piece of contemporary art, the Eagle was on display at the Vancouver Convention Centre just last week.
Police say they’re early in the investigation, and are still working with the victims to sort out exactly what happened and come up with suspect descriptions.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Delta Police at 604.946.4411, or contact Crimestoppers if they wish to remain anonymous.