Thieves steal 8-foot statue honoring namesake of Lynwood's Marco Antonio Firebaugh High School

The statue was made mostly out of copper and was built at a cost of about $8,000, officials said.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2024
Thieves steal statue honoring namesake of high school in Lynwood
Thieves in Lynwood stole a statue honoring the late Marco Antonio Firebaugh, who served in the California State Assembly. The statue was taken from the campus of the high school that bears his name.

LYNWOOD (KABC) -- Thieves in Lynwood stole an 8-foot statue honoring the late state Rep. Marco Antonio Firebaugh, who served in the California State Assembly, and officials are asking for help in finding and recovering it.

Over the weekend, the outdoor statue was taken from the campus of the high school that bears Firebaugh's name.

"I honestly feel disappointed and saddened that someone would feel that they have to come to our high school here at Firebaugh and to take our beloved statue of Marco Antonio Firebaugh," Superintendent Gudiel Crosthwaite of the Lynwood Unified School District told ABC7.

The school was named after Firebaugh a few months before he passed away in 2006 at the age of 39. According to the California-Mexico Studies Center, he died from severe complications after being diagnosed with liver disease.

The statue "was placed here as a commemoration to the support of Marco Antonio Firebaugh, what he's done to the Southeast L.A. community -- specifically for Lynwood -- and, of course, his legacy," Crosthwaite said.

Firebaugh was born in Tijuana, Mexico, and moved to the U.S. as a child. He was credited for serving vulnerable communities, working families and immigrants.

The statue "was the pillar of our high school community," said Larry Reed, the school's principal. "It represented his AB Assembly Bill 540, which gave undocumented students the chance to be able to go to California schools, colleges and pay in-state tuition."

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Firebaugh "really did a lot for our 'Dreamers,' when the 'Dreamer' movement was not popular," said Lynwood's Mayor Jose Luis Solache, referring to participants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Reed said the theft of the statue came after a previous, unsuccessful attempt to steal it last week.

"At the time, the community member walked up to them, there was already a thick rope tied around the statue and they were attempting to pull it away," the principal said. "She went up to the vehicle and they sped off."

Solache said Lynwood has experienced copper thefts recently.

"Lynwood is proud of its bike trail that we opened up not too long ago," the mayor said. "And they actually sold the copper wire of all the beautiful lighting that we installed near Lynwood."

The statue, which was mostly made of copper, cost about $8,000 to build, Solache said, adding that the money was raised through private donations.

The theft is being investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.