Gorilla statue stolen in Montgomery County was ‘local icon’

A large gorilla statue made of metal that was stolen from the front of an antique shop in Kensington, Maryland, was well-known and very well-liked in the community, according to the shop’s owner.

“People would drive up, jump out of cars and take selfies with him,” said Kristina Jamgochian, owner of Design Emporium Antiques.

Montgomery County police released surveillance video of the theft Wednesday, showing a man loading the gorilla statue into the back of a pickup truck and driving away with it.

You can watch the video below.

“It’s my business and I feel violated,” Jamgochian said. “This really upset me.”

The truck used by the suspect appeared to be an older model Chevrolet Colorado Z71, police said.

“Apparently it was preplanned,” Jamgochian said. “He must have known because he pulled right up and had the bolt cutters ready.”

The surveillance footage shows the thief using the bolt cutters to cut a cable that had been holding the 200-pound statue in place.

It was clearly heavy, as the suspect struggled to drag the statue to his vehicle and load it into the back.

“A lot of times, cable cutters don’t even cut that stuff,” said Alan Shropshire, a friend of the owner. “He must have known what he was doing.”

Shropshire agreed that the statue — which they had named Murphy — was locally famous.

“I don’t know anybody that wasn’t familiar with ‘the place with the monkey in front,’” Shropshire said with a smile. “It was an icon.”

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Jamgochian told WTOP that she had sold the statue for $1,000 just before it was taken.

Police said that the theft happened in the early morning hours on Jan. 4.

“The suspect is described as a … male, approximately 5 feet, 10 inches tall, medium build, wearing a dark-colored hooded sweatshirt, light gray sweatpants and light-colored shoes,” according to a statement from police.

A reward of up to $10,000 is being offered for information that leads to an arrest.


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