Jerry Karlik's St. Petersburg shop is a maze of carefully-crafted cement statues. But recently, dozens of the frozen faces have disappeared from his lot.
More than 40 statues, plaques, and columns have been swiped in just two weeks, with another burglary over the weekend.
"I really don't know what to say. I wish I could make sales as quick as they're going out the yard for free!" Karlik laughed.
This string of thefts is particularly puzzling because these statues aren't exactly easy to steal. Some of the pieces that were stolen weighed upwards of 175 pounds.
"I only place large things outside, figuring that they're not going to walk away," Karlik said Monday.
Still, the burglars don't appear deterred even by the business's barbed-wire fence. Karlik believes they're using a blanket to soften the spikes and hop right in.
"There's gotta be two people. Someone on the other side of the fence that they're handing them to," he said.
Nearly $4,000 worth of inventory's been stolen during the five-week string of thefts. St. Petersburg police are looking online to snag their suspects.
"There's a good possibility that someone's taking these out and maybe putting them online to sell them. So we're monitoring those kinds of areas to see if anything like that pops up," said St. Petersburg Police Department's Mike Puetz.
Meanwhile, Karlik, a former Clearwater police officer, says the spree is leaving his lot sparse. He says even spiritual statues are at the mercy of the brazen burglar.
"It doesn't make sense. The religious pieces? The Blessed Mother? It's a little hard for me to understand stealing those," he added.
If you have any information about the thefts, you're asked to call the St. Petersburg Police Department at 727-893-7780.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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