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Long IslandCrime

Pricey statues stolen in Freeport are priceless to owner

Zoila Marie and Charlie Venticinque with a replica

Zoila Marie and Charlie Venticinque with a replica of a sculpture stolen in October 2017 from the front of his Freeport mansion. Credit: Jessica Rotkiewicz

Four ornate bronze statues that went missing in October are worth up to $20,000, but Charlie Venticinque says he wants them back because they hold such “great sentimental value.”

The statues, which held up a fountain, had graced the front of Ventincque’s Freeport mansion, a stucco two-story, 12-room South Long Beach Avenue home that has been vacant since being severely damaged in superstorm Sandy flooding in 2012.

The house was once owned by the late comedian and stage and screen actor Victor Moore, Venticinque said. Moore was a major Broadway star in the late 1920s and ’30s.

Nassau police are investigating the theft, which happened sometime between 2:30 p.m. Oct. 19 and 9:30 a.m. Oct. 21. Crime Stoppers is asking anyone with any information about to call 800-244-8477.

“The original [house] owner was Victor Moore and he sold it to someone who bought the fountain the statues held up,” Venticinque, 72, said in an interview Tuesday. “They held up the marble fountain and on top of that were four bronze turtles. They didn’t take the turtles, they just took the big stuff.”

Venticinque said the four statues stand “between 3 feet and 4 feet tall and probably weigh upwards of 100 pounds each” and the fountain came from Italy.

He said the statues are valued at between $15,000 and $20,000.

The house was purchased by Venticinque’s late father and mother, Charlie and Teresa, in 1973 but he said the statues had been outside since 1950. Venticinque added there is a bronze replica that stood in the living room of the home as well.

“After the other fountain was taken we took the miniature from the inside so the same thing wouldn’t happen with it,” said Venticinque, a retired maintenance engineer for the defunct Trans World Airlines who lives in North Babylon. He noted the house was built in 1935.

Venticinque said he had lived in the house with his parents and because his father was Italian — though born in this country — he loved the fountain from Italy. His father was a commercial painting contractor.

“I’m willing to offer a reward to get them back,” Venticinque said of the statues. The fountain they were holding up remains, along with the turtles.

“This meant so much personally to my father so it has great sentimental value,” he said. “He loved those statues so they are more of sentimental value than anything else.”

A woman from the neighborhood also has fond memories of the fountain, Venticinque said. He estimated she is in her 60s and said that when she was a girl her parents had her pose in front of the fountain on the day of her First Communion.

“If somebody’s got a conscience,” Venticinque said, “they’ll bring them back.”

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