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Burglars steal $14,000 in sculptures from small business struggling during pandemic

WILTON MANORS, Fla. – It took Matthew Lang more than a decade to build his business and a few days for a group of burglars to put it all at risk during the coronavirus pandemic.

During separate incidents, Lang believes the same group of burglars stole about $14,000 in out-door sculptures made out of fiberglass and artfully covered in artificial turf.

A group of burglars stole a 300-pound rhinoceros from a business in Wilton Manors on Monday.
A group of burglars stole a 300-pound rhinoceros from a business in Wilton Manors on Monday. (Local 10 News Share)

First, they took a $4,000 ram and a $5,000 dinosaur over the weekend. On Monday, a $5,000 rhinoceros was gone.

“I think they got those two and then they came back for this one,” Lang said. "I think it was kind of planned.”

Burglar stole these two sculptures from a business in Wilton Manors.
Burglar stole these two sculptures from a business in Wilton Manors. (Local 10 News Share)

Surveillance video shows a man walk into The Plant Guy, Lang’s botanical design center at 2756 N. Dixie Hwy. in Wilton Manors. The accomplice distracted Lang’s employees while a brazen trio stole the 300-pound rhinoceros, which had been bolted to the ground.

Surveillance cameras show a group of burglars stealing a sculpture from a Wilton Manors business on Monday.
Surveillance cameras show a group of burglars stealing a sculpture from a Wilton Manors business on Monday. (Local 10 News Share)

Surveillance video shows the men taking it in a white pick-up truck. By the time an employee realized what was going on, it was too late. The video shows him running outside while the thieves were speeding away.

The loss of the three pricey topiaries comes as Lang was forced to close his non-essential business.

“Five weeks without business is crazy, so just to be set back another $14,000 is a lot,” Lang said. "It is a lot.”

Wilton Manors Police Department detectives are searching for the burglars and they are asking anyone with information to call Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-8477.


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