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Statuettes Are Latest Oscar No-Shows

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

A shipment of Oscar statuettes for the upcoming Academy Awards have apparently been stolen, just weeks after thousands of Oscar ballots were lost, the academy said Thursday.

“The statuettes have turned up missing in the city of Bell and we believe they have been stolen,” Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences spokesman John Pavlik said late Thursday.

He declined to elaborate, saying academy Executive Director Bruce Davis would discuss the matter further at a news conference this morning.

But academy President Robert Rehme told the Hollywood Reporter the statuettes were being shipped from Chicago when they disappeared.

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“There were some Oscars that we had on a truck that are either missing or stolen,” Rehme said. “We dont know how, where or why. We never had them in our possession. We expect them to be returned, but were not sure. It’s been two days.”

The Oscars had not been inscribed yet, Rehme said.

It was not clear how many Oscars were taken. Pavlik said he believed all 54 that were missing, while Rehme said “a crateful” had disappeared.

According to a brief statement from the academy, the Oscars vanished from a dock used by Roadway Express, the academy’s regular shipping company.

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It was unclear what law enforcement agency was investigating the theft. Pavlik said he believed it was the Los Angeles Police Department, but Officer Don Cox, an LAPD spokesman, said he didn’t know if the department was involved.

A Bell Police Department watch commander said he had received no reports of such a theft. Bell police initially referred calls to the Postal Service. But postal inspector Pamela Prince said she had no information about a theft at postal facility.

The disappearance was the second Oscar mishap to occur this month.

Sacks containing 4,000 ballots were misrouted after delivery to the Beverly Hills post office by an accounting firm on March 1, forcing the academy to mail new ones.

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