Whether the search for camera images will be successful is doubtful. A real estate company opposite the station has no cameras outside. There is a café in the same building, the cameras of which only show its own terrace. “For privacy reasons, they should not be aimed at the public road,” says an employee.
The police can also skip a visit to the bicycle shop at the station. “We only have cameras inside, nothing outside,” says owner Bennie Wolbers, who does not understand the theft. “The statue has a layer of bronze, but that’s tenners work. So the thieves won’t earn much from it.”
A playful action or vandalism is excluded. A motive may be that someone – as Wolbers also suggests – has stolen the statue to melt down the bronze and earn money with it, the police say. “But we don’t experience this often, so it’s mainly a guess as to why someone is doing this. We’ve done research on location and you can see that the statue has been removed from the plinth with force.” The statue was then dragged ten meters across the ground and placed in a car. Drag tracks are visible all over the distance.
It is not the first incident in Meppel: the city is being ravaged by a wave of burglaries. Almost a hundred burglaries were reported this year, which is huge compared to national figures. Nowhere did the number of burglaries after a burglary-free corona period increase as much as in Meppel. The police see the statue robbery as a completely separate case. “We don’t see any connection to other burglaries.”
According to resident Bolt, it is a great shame that the statue has disappeared. He says that the statue used to be part of a large fountain, which was demolished in 1952 due to overdue maintenance. Only the Lady Fontana statue has survived and was replaced in 1989. “I hope that the image will be found,” says de Meppeler. “But it’s probably a vain hope.”
If the statue is not found, Bolt hopes that the municipality will have a replica made. “Now an empty plinth remains, which is also strange, so a replica is a good option. Then made of concrete, so that the material does not attract the attention of thieves.”