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Priceless Stolen Sculptures Recovered

August 22, 1986|United Press International

SAN FRANCISCO — Two priceless 1,300-year-old T'ang Dynasty monster-like sculptures stolen 15 years ago by two drunken teen-agers who had no idea of their value have been recovered by police and returned to the Asian Art Museum, police said Thursday.

Detectives were led to the statues by a tip from the ex-wife of one of the thieves, who wanted to collect a $5,000 reward offered for return of the art objects after they were stolen on July 8, 1971, Police Lt. Gerald McCarthy said.

A museum official said the woman, not publicly identified, would receive the reward.

McCarthy declined to identify the thieves and said they would not be charged with any crimes. He said they were now "regular citizens" with families.

Park Museum

The lieutenant said one statue was found in a "storage room" in "the western part of the city" and the other in a basement. Both, he said, were returned Wednesday night to the museum in Golden Gate Park.

Rand Castile, the museum's director, said they were "in perfect shape--thank God."

He added, "I am happy to have them back."

They will be placed on public exhibition today, Castile said.

The thieves also took an 18th- or 19th-Century Burmese female figure covered with lacquer and gold paint. It measured 9 1/2 inches and weighed 20 pounds. The figure sits with one foot behind her and hands outstretched in an attitude of prayer.

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