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300-pound statue of Hindu God is stolen from Wayne temple

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Wayne, NJ: A 300-pound statue of the Hindu God Shiva has been stolen from the Indian Cultural Society Hindu Temple and Mahatma Gandhi Center, according to temple officials, who plan to offer a reward for information leading to an arrest.

Shiva is one of the three chief gods in the Hindu faith. The deity is the most revered because the god is believed to decide whether a soul is to remain with the gods or to be reincarnated. The statue, valued at around $6,200, was perched on a hill on the temple grounds on Preakness Avenue and is made of a five-metal alloy, including copper, gold and silver.

The statue was last seen around 11:30 p.m. on November 13, and it was discovered missing at about 10:15 a.m. November 14, police said. The thieves left a fresh tire track in the grass and boot prints could also be seen, authorities said. The temple’s camera system was not working, police said.

The theft occurred the night after Diwali.

As worshipers  arrived for the New Year’s celebration on November 14, they were stunned to learn that the statue had been stolen.

“It’s heartbreaking,” said Sanjay Desai, a member of the temple’s committee. “People come from all over to worship here. As they find out that the statue was missing out,  it was beyond what they could conceive.”

Desai said he has called friends throughout the country to tell them that the statue was stolen. He said donations were beginning to come in for a reward, which has not been set.

“It amounts to this: Who would do such a thing?” said Jyotindal Patel, the temple committee chairman. “We are a harmless peaceful community.”