VANCOUVER – A solid gold eagle sculpture encrusted with 763 diamonds and worth millions of dollars was stolen from its owner during a violent robbery in suburban Vancouver.
Acting Sgt. Sarah Swallow of the Delta Police Department said the robbery happened on a street in the community of Ladner at about 10 p.m. Sunday.
“I’m not sure whether he was transporting it or what,” she said referring to the owner of the eagle.
Swallow said in an interview Monday that police are still working on a description of the suspect or suspects and are interviewing witnesses.
“It’s definitely a very high-value robbery and we’ll be looking into the circumstances around that.”
The Maltese Eagle, which stands about 30 centimetres and weighs more than eight kilograms, is touted by its owner as the world’s largest such sculpture, with a value of about $5 million.
The eagle’s head is covered with diamonds weighing over 53 carats, and sitting at its feet is an emerald called the Atocha Star, weighing 12.72 carats.
“I’m hopeful, very hopeful, that the police will be able to find the eagle,” Ron Shore, who owns the sculpture, told reporters Monday.
He did not answer questions about whether he had security for the multi-million dollar piece or whether it is insured.
In an interview with The Canadian Press, Shore declined to release specific details about what happened during the robbery, but said he was badly injured.
“It was extremely traumatic, basically something out of a movie scene. It was crazy,” he said.
He deferred any other questions about the robbery to police.
The eagle had been on display for four days at Art Vancouver, which showcased the work of dozens of artists from around the world.
Shore said he’s travelled to several locations displaying the eagle with the goal of raising money to fight breast cancer. He said he hoped to eventually sell it for the cause close to his heart.
“My sister-in-law, Gabby, gave birth and died two days later from breast cancer. So what I wanted to do through the sale of the eagle is to raise money through breast cancer benefit concert series in Vancouver, L.A., New York and Toronto.”
Artist Kevin Peters created the eagle over many months using 14- and 18-karat gold.