Horrible thieves with hearts two sizes too small stole a 2-foot bronze statue of Dr. Seuss' Lorax character from the La Jolla home of the author's ninety-year-old widow last weekend.

Audrey Geisel noticed the theft when walking through the garden with her property manager, Carl Romero, Monday morning. Footprints in the garden appeared to indicate the grinches responsible dragged the 300-pound statue to an access road, then hoisted it over a chain-link fence, displaying, in addition to callous greed, an impressive amount of determination and physical fitness.

The incident occurred as plans were underway for the installation of security cameras and motion-detection centers around the Geisel property. The timing has aroused Romero's suspicions.

"It's peculiar that the Lorax was stolen right before the camera was installed. It's not a coincidence. It's very private up here."

Here is a shortlist of potential suspects.

The statue is one of a pair cast by Audrey Geisel's daughter, sculptor Lark Grey Diamond-Cates. The other is on display at a Dr. Seuss National Memorial in Theodore Geisel's hometown of Springfield Massachusetts.

In a statement to The San Diego Union-Tribune, Lark Grey Diamond-Cates lived up to her fun hippie name by imbuing the statue with lots of emotions:

"I want very badly to get our little Lorax back home where he belongs. Wherever he is, he's scared, lonely and hungry. He's not just a hunk of metal to us. He was a family pet."

She then added, rather bluntly, that she hopes El Lorax isn't Tijuana-bound, bein' run the wrong way round, headed for violent a Mexican death:

"I hope he hasn't been taken across the border into Tijuana for scrap. Worst-case scenario, I'll get the foundry to create another one, but he won't be the same."

As for the nonagenarian Mrs. Geisel, Romero reports that she "just wants [the Lorax] back," and does not intend to press charges if it is returned.


[Image via Getty]