MIAMI (WSVN) - City of Miami Police have arrested a suspect accused of stealing the “Naked Trump” statue from the rooftop of a Wynwood building.
Police charged 36-year-old Pedro Alejandro Rodriguez with grand theft and burglary, Friday afternoon. He turned himself into police around 4 p.m. and was arrested.
Photo of Pedro Alejandro Rodriguez
The controversial naked sculpture of Donald Trump, titled “The Emperor Has No Balls” by the artist collective INDECLINE, was stolen from the property of Mana Wynwood, located along Northwest Second Avenue and 23rd Street, early Thursday morning.
The sculpture was on display for several days before it was stolen, said authorities.
The man responsible for the statue, Moishe Mana, told 7News that Rodriguez is a local artist who told him he stole the statue because he doesn’t like Trump and didn’t like seeing it.
“He was sitting there and guarding the statue and somehow they managed, although it was just like he was right nearby them, to climb and do it real quick. But, luckily, he was able to capture a picture, and then we went ahead and we found out that this was one of the artists that does graffiti art,” Mana said.
Mana, the chairman of Mana Contemporary and a Wynwood developer, said that Rodriguez told him the statue would be returned once he gets out of jail. But the statue needs repairs because Rodriguez cut off the head.
Mana said he doesn’t plan to press charges because he understands where Rodriguez was coming from.
Mana, the chairman of Mana Contemporary and a Wynwood developer, said the statue needs repairs because Rodriguez cut off the head.
Still, Mana said he doesn’t plan to press charges because he understands why Rodriguez protested Trump.
“It was meant as a protest,” Mana said. “Although we want Donald Trump out of our lives, we do not want it do be in that kind of way, you know. I don’t understand why anybody would steal a piece of art, but the fact that it’s Donald Trump, you know, I can, I can forgive him.”
“Someone made a political statement, and then someone else made a political statement back, taking it down,” said one person in Wynwood.
Police said they responded to the call from security guards around 3 a.m. The guards said they were patrolling the area when they saw a group of men load the statue into a gray Ford F-150 pickup truck and take off.
7News spoke with a witness, Angel Pino, who said he tried to yell at the man to stop, but they kept going. “I was happening to be skateboarding over there on the other side, and I just seen the guys sneaking up, and he was already by the Donald Trump,” said Pino. “He just pulled it and ran, so I just ran after him and said ‘Stop! Stop!’ And then he just jumped, went in the truck and left, but before he left, I took that snap picture. It was perfect.”
Pino was able to get a picture of the pickup truck’s tag before it drove away. “He just didn’t want to stop, so I took the picture,” said Pino. “I’m not gonna like try to interfere or try to like get shot or anything like that over a Donald Trump.”
Police ran the plates from the photo and at first named Rodriguez as a person of interest.
The statue, which was stolen early Thursday morning, has yet to be recovered. It is valued at $15,000.
Jalala Deen, the property manager, held the fake Donald Trump head, Friday, and spoke about its value. “I look at it as a piece of art, you know, and it’s wonderful,” he said.
No one 7News spoke to in Wynwood recognized him, however.
“Not too familiar with him, but I recognize the statue,” said one man.
“Not at all no, never, doesn’t look familiar to me,” said another.
Another Wynwood pedestrian said he liked the statue. “I think it’s great, obviously because Donald … He’s a special person, you know,” he said.
This is the second location the statue has been displayed at. The statue was originally located atop a former RC Cola plant-turned event space, right in the heart of the Wynwood Arts District. However, police said, it needed to be taken down because it was distracting drivers along Interstate 95.
These Trump statues have popped up in cities all around the country. It was a similar story in New Jersey, where the Trump statue there was stolen over the weekend. It was displayed atop a warehouse and greeted drivers along a highway as they made their way into New York City.
Surveillance video captured the thief, who spent three and a half hours on the roof of the warehouse trying to get it down.
If you have any information on this theft or the whereabouts of the statue, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $1,000 reward.
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