PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- - Several statues of children are missing from the Donald Ross Villages shopping center.
The bronze statues were stripped from the ground without any witnesses.
"They're just nice, bronze statues that beautify the property and these kids are just playing. Look at their faces. They're happy. They're enjoying themselves," said Derek Brock of Brock Development Corporation.
The statues are also about $3,000 each, said Brock.
"It looks like some kids might have come out here and had some fun and stolen some artwork," he said.
Brock said he originally thought it was a prank. That changed after the Palm Beach Gardens police got involved. Detectives tell Brock it appeared someone might have been trying to profit off the backs of the bronzes.
"It kind of questions some of the human nature in the area," said Brock.
After thieves yanked out the statues by cutting the bolts from the structures, property managers said the police told them the statues were recently recovered at a scrap yard.
"Seeing our statues all dirty, in front of a dumpster, is kind of uneasy in the stomach," said Brock.
A spokesperson for the Palm Beach Gardens police said no one has been arrested and that the incident is still under investigation.
Maintenance workers on Wednesday were forced to drill, epoxy and remount the remaining statues.
Brock said he hopes other businesses are paying attention.
"Watch your kids, watch your statues and any artwork outside, just be careful and mindful of it," said Brock.
Florida law requires scrap yards to keep photographs of transactions and sellers must provide identification and fingerprints.
Scrap yards must also issue checks to prevent quick cash transactions.