6 bronze statues stolen from Academy of Autism



ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - School's six bronze statues were stolen from the Academy for Autism in Orange County, authorities said.

Staffers had moved into the new school Thursday, but overnight someone came through the gate and stole what would have been the centerpiece to a children's garden, just two weeks before dozens of autistic children will move into their new school.

"We're a school and a therapy clinic for children with autism," said Zulma Rivas-Detell, Academy for Autism.

The statues were stolen from a fountain.

"They haven't even seen the fountain. The kids haven't even been to this building yet, said Rivas-Detell. "It was children dancing. Children with autism love to dance. It would have been great for them to see that as they first drove up that first day."

Staff said they assume the statues were stolen to sell for scrap. They've called local scrap yards to be on the lookout, and filed a police report.

"We're all struggling. Many parents, some of them have one job or no jobs, so they struggle, we struggle. We save every penny possible," Rivas-Detell said.

The director of the school said she hopes that someone will return the statues, and that there will be no questions asked.