INDIO, Calif. -

A statue of a dog and two kids reading grandma's letter beside the mailbox stood at the front of the Indio Senior Center since it opened in 2009.
Now all that's left is cement, filling in the holes of the bolts that once held it up.

"It's so nice. But I don't see it anymore," said Juana Romero, of Indio.

The $30,000 art piece was taken on Saturday around 10:30 p.m. Surveillance video shows two men in a silver or gold early 2000 Nissan Maxima, ramming their car into the statue, loading it into the trunk and driving off.

"They figured out, 'What can we do to get it off it pedestal?' They'd use their car. Obviously it was that important to them," said Ben Guitron, an Indio police spokesperson.

Police say it's a trend. Thieves looking to cash in on bronze and copper. One pound of bronze costs about $3. Copper goes for about $4.

"In the last several months bronze and copper is used to recycle so they hope to get to some money out of it," said Guitron.

However, for neighbors like Romero, it's been a tradition for her and her grandson to wave to the statue each day as they passed. And the sentimental value of it is worth more.

"He said, 'Where are the babies?'" said Romero.

"The loss is to our community. We'd like to know who did it," said Guitron.

If you have any information about the theft, call Valley Crimestoppers at (760) 341-STOP.