Bronze Make-A-Wish statue stolen from Phoenix office

A Make-A-Wish statue was stolen outside the organization's Phoenix office and the mother of the boy it's made in honor of is heartbroken.
Published: Jan. 5, 2023 at 1:06 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Make-A-Wish says one of their most prized items, a bronze statue representing the very start of the nonprofit, was stolen late Tuesday night.

According to a nonprofit spokesperson, a car with two people pulled up to the headquarters near 16th Street and Highland Avenue around 10 a.m. The pair used a harness to remove the statue from the base before loading it into the trunk and driving away. Phoenix police confirmed to Arizona’s Family that a theft report at the address within the past day.

Make-A-Wish says the statue is that of Christopher James Greicius, a 7-year-old who inspired the creation of the nonprofit. In 1980, he said he wanted to be a police officer. After the Arizona Department of Public Safety gave him a helicopter ride and uniform, he inspired six people to form the foundation, which has since grown to more than 52 chapters across the country, with 30 international affiliates. It is now the biggest wish-granting organization in the U.S. for kids with terminal illnesses.

Greicius’ mother, Linda Pauling, still lives in Scottsdale to this day. When the statue was unveiled in 2018, Pauling never worried that someone would steal it. Now, she just wants it back because it means so much to her. “The first thing that came to mind was, my God, when I buried him the first time it’s almost like the second time he’s gone,” she said.

Pauling said she would kiss the statue every time she walked by it. She and the Make-A-Wish team want it returned so they can feel whole again. “This is my little boy, and he is our inspiration for starting Make-A-Wish. Let’s just get him back home where he belongs,” she said.

Phoenix Police are investigating. If you’ve seen the bronze statue or know where it may be, please call the police or submit a tip through Silent Witness.