"Lorax" statue stolen from California home of Dr. Seuss

LOS ANGELES Tue Mar 27, 2012 7:37pm EDT

U.S. actor Danny DeVito poses with 'The Lorax' character, during a photocall to promote the 3-D animated film ''Dr. Seuss' The Lorax'' in Berlin March 5, 2012. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz

U.S. actor Danny DeVito poses with 'The Lorax' character, during a photocall to promote the 3-D animated film ''Dr. Seuss' The Lorax'' in Berlin March 5, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Tobias Schwarz

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A 300-pound (136-kg) bronze statue of the Lorax, a character from the Dr. Seuss book and hit movie of the same name, has been stolen from the late author's San Diego estate, police said on Tuesday.

The 3-foot-high (1-meter) statue of the Lorax standing on a tree stump with his arms outstretched was reported missing from the hillside property on Monday morning, San Diego Police Lieutenant Andra Brown said.

Theodor Geisel, who wrote The Lorax and other best-selling children's books under the pen-name Dr. Seuss, died in 1991 at the age of 87.

His widow, Audrey, still lives on the estate in the San Diego community of La Jolla.

Brown said police were trying to determine if the theft was related to an animated film based on the book, voiced by Zac Efron and Taylor Swift, that is currently playing in theaters.

"We don't know if it's just a prank because of the recent release of the movie or if someone thinks it's going to be worth a buck or two because it's a lot of (metal)," Brown said.

"We're just hoping that the suspects return it," she said. "The Geisel family is just asking that it be returned and they don't want to pursue the matter any further. Which is not to say the police won't."

Brown said evidence at the scene suggests that the thieves rolled the statue down the hill to an adjacent property, where it was likely loaded onto a waiting vehicle.

She said the statue was one of two made by Geisel's stepdaughter. The other was given to a museum.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Tim Gaynor and Eric Beech)

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