Rafu Wire Service and Staff Reports

The Buddha statue that was stolen and has since been recovered. (Courtesy Barakat Gallery)

A man has been arrested in connection with the theft of a Buddha statue worth $1.5 million, the LAPD police said Wednesday.

KTLA5 News reported that the statue was recovered from a truck on Saturday and 44-year-old Justin Livick was arrested on suspicion of possession of stolen property. He has since been released from custody and has a tentative court date of Oct. 19.

The LAPD said that it was unclear if Livick stole the statue or had purchased it from someone else.

The incident, which made international news, remained under investigation and no further details were released.

The 250-pound statue from Japan’s Edo period (1603-1867) was stolen from the Barakat Gallery in Beverly Grove around 3:45 a.m. on Sept. 18, according to surveillance footage broadcast on local newscasts.

The video shows the thief pulling up to the gallery in a moving truck. The driver steps out, breaks open a driveway gate, enters the gallery and uses a dolly to move the statue into the truck.

“I prize it so much,” gallery owner Fayez Barakat told KTLA at the time. “I had it in the backyard of my home and when I moved into this gallery, I put it in the backyard of the gallery for everybody to admire and enjoy.”

Paul Henderson, director of Barakat’s Los Angeles location, told theartnewspaper.com at the time, “We’re all very puzzled. Obviously this is a high-valued piece, it’s important, and aesthetically it’s a very interesting and unique item. It’s clearly a temple sculpture from that period, and the size and the execution make it a very rare item, so it’s not something you’d find on the market, which means it’s not something that could be resold easily.”

Henderson told The Los Angeles Times that the burglar most likely “scoped out” the gallery beforehand. “He moves with intent, there’s no waffling around or looking around. He knew where to go.”

Barakat also has galleries in London and Seoul.

The statue bears an inscription that reads, “Produced by Tadazou Iinuma, first year of Shouho, Kanoe. Prayed for and requested by Ryozen, master of Shingon religious party, Dainichi-Nyorai, Yudo-no-San Temple, of the highest social class.”

Anyone with information about the theft was urged to contact the LAPD at 1-877-275-5273.

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