Property manager Carl Romero said he and Geisel, widow of children’s book author Theodore Geisel, discovered the loss Monday morning as they were walking through the garden.
“It’s a valuable piece because there are only two of them, and it’s an iconic figure,” Romero said.
He said he last noticed the sculpture in the yard late Saturday afternoon. On Monday, he saw footprints in the garden indicating that thieves dragged the 300-pound statue and base to an access road and lifted it over a chain-link fence. He notified San Diego police of the theft.
Romero said Audrey Geisel “just wants it back.”
He said he wants to get word out to the thieves that, “you can’t sell it on eBay. If you return it, we won’t press any charges.”
It was the only Seuss-character sculpture at the Geisel home, Romero said.
Audrey Geisel’s daughter, sculptor Lark Grey Dimond-Cates of Rancho Santa Fe, created one cast-bronze Lorax for the family and one for a Dr. Seuss National Memorial dedicated in 2002 at her stepfather’s hometown, Springfield, Mass.
“I want very badly to get our little Lorax back home where he belongs,” Dimond-Cates said. “Wherever he is, he’s scared, lonely and hungry. He’s not just a hunk of metal to us. He was a family pet.”
Dimond-Cates said she hopes someone took the Lorax because of fanfare over the March 2 release of a major animated film based on the story — and not because it is made of bronze.
“I hope he hasn’t been taken across the border into Tijuana for scrap,” she said. “Worst-case scenario, I’ll get the foundry to create another one, but he won’t be the same.”
The statue stood on a wooden base shaped like a tree stump and bearing the inscription “Unless.”
The word is used at the end of “The Lorax.” In the story, a furry creature called the Lorax warns a boy that there will be no more trees on the planet “unless” someone like him plants the last remaining seed.
The sculpture had been installed at the Geisel home along a path with a sweeping view of the Pacific Ocean, beneath a 100-year-old Italian stone pine. Romero said the pine was in a Seuss drawing of elephant character Horton sitting on a tree branch in “Horton Hears a Who.”