SAO PAULO: A 19-year-old homeless man confessed to sawing the arms off a bronze statue of Pele and selling them to a scrap metal yard, police said on Thursday.
Jackson Conceicao, who was arrested on Wednesday in the north-eastern city of Salvador, also stole the bronze replica of the World Cup trophy above the statue’s head in mid-June. He’s been charged with theft and faces up to four years in prison.
He fetched 100 reals (US$54) for the arms and the replica which were resold after being melted down, district police chief Omar Andrade Leal said by telephone.
Police are trying to locate another homeless man who helped Conceicao. “They squandered their meagre earnings on crack cocaine,” Leal said.
The statue will be restored and moved inside the stadium. It was inaugurated in March 1971, shortly after Brazil won their third World Cup in Mexico. – AP