Prague police swoop on plastic penguin thieves

Prague police say they have arrested three foreigners who stole a plastic penguin from a modern art museum in the city

Michael Stein | 14.06.2011
These plastic penguins proved all too attractive for the international gang suspected of snatching one of their number

Prague police said on Tuesday that they had arrested three foreigners and charged them with  stealing  a penguin sculpture from Prague’s central Museum Kampa. The yellow plastic sculpture was one of an identical series perched on a stone wall outside the museum on the Vltava river and illuminated at night.

According to Municipal Police spokesman Tomáš Hulan, the accused face potential prison sentences of up to two years if convicted. The penguin disappeared June 4 at around 5 a.m. and the police began investigating the case two days later.

Pick up a penguin

The thieves had to get past a two-meter high fence to snatch the penguin, police said. Hulan added the financial damage to the museum totaled Kč 70,000. “It only took the police four days to apprehend the criminals,” the police boasted on their website.

The accused were reported to be a Russian, a Spanish speaker and a French speaker, all in their 20s. The penguin sculptures are the work of the Italian-based Cracking Art Group, which specializes in placing unusual plastic sculptures in public spaces. The condition of the recovered plastic penguin after its six day ordeal was not given. 

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