Mysteriously stolen Buddha back where it belongs

AP, May 30, 2006

STUART, Fla. (USA) -- Maybe the thieves believe in karma. A 600-pound gold concrete Buddha stolen from a restaurant last week has been found at peace in a commercial park.

A tipster called the owners of Sakura Restaurant and Steak House of Japan with the statue's whereabouts. Thieves had lifted it from its perch atop a fountain outside the restaurant.

Police last Tuesday found the undamaged sculpture, which is devoted to the Indian founder of Buddhism, but still have no suspects in the theft.

The 3-foot-6-inch statue worth $1,500 was driven back to the restaurant's rock garden aboard a flatbed truck.

Restaurant owner Ako Tarallo welcomed the sculpture back with more enlightened security measures.

"I might put the camera outside," she told the Stuart News for Thursday's editions.

One of the central moral precepts of Buddhism is "do not take what is not yours to take." Buddhists also believe in karma, which says a person's actions in this life determine the quality of their existence in the next.