The two Buddha statues that welcome people into the Oracle store in Sechelt have been smashed into pieces.
On Friday, June 23, manager Linda Dunford was working in the back when she heard a loud bang. She is “just devastated” that she didn’t see who did it. Dunford quickly called the Sunshine Coast RCMP.
James Oswald, who co-owns the gift and decor shop with wife Kelly, told Coast Reporter they hope footage from a nearby security camera will help the police identify the perpetrator. Inside the store, one Buddha statue is for sale at $840. Each were selected by the family in Bali.
This isn’t the first time the Oracle’s Buddhas have been targeted. In December 2020, the two statues were stolen from in front of the store soon after the Oracle moved from Wharf Ave. to its current Cowrie St. location.
Kelly said she knew who took the statues in 2020, and paid for their return. By late 2021, the statues were back in front of the Oracle, with chains locking them in place.
“Nobody’s touched them since, so to do this in broad daylight at 8:30 or 8:45 in the morning is crazy,” James said as he looked at the wreckage, and the chains still locked. “We’re in shock. Disappointed. Not surprised, there are some problems in the area, which we all witness every day.
“It doesn’t make me want to put anything else out there.”
Kelly was on the way to a Buddhist retreat when she heard the news. "It's heartbreaking," she said. "I mean, really, who does that? For multiple reasons ... because it's serious damage. And also it's Buddha. Who's a very peaceful entity and he is supposed to bring about that sense of peace and calm and good karma and all that. You think it would be a little more protected just by who it is."
She noted the statues are heavy, and is grateful that nobody was hurt and the windows weren't broken.
"I've bought them twice, I've lost them twice," Kelly said. To her, the Buddha statues and the happy hippo statue bring a sense of fun to the streets of Sechelt. Now she's unsure whether she'll put anything out again.