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What?! Tourist Arrested for Busting Ancient Statue's Ear

Easter Island vandal headed to jail
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 27, 2008 11:05 AM CDT
What?! Tourist Arrested for Busting Ancient Statue's Ear
This photo released by Chilean Investigative Police, shows one of the massive Moai statues, center, whose right earlobe was stolen by a Finnish tourist.   (AP Photo/Chilean Investigative Police )

(Newser) – A Finnish tourist is facing an imposing sentence for cracking an ear off one of Easter Island's ancient monoliths, the Guardian reports. A local woman saw him snap the ear off the 13-foot statue. It shattered in several pieces as it fell to the ground, and he fled with one of the bits clutched in his hand, said authorities. A Finnish diplomat said the man, 26, deeply regrets his "sudden, impulsive crazy idea."

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The tourist could be sent to jail for seven years and fined $20,000 if found guilty of damaging the statue. Chilean law forbids defacing the giant stone figures. More than 400 of the huge statues, carved as long as 1,000 years ago, remain on the island. Authorities hope the damaged statue can be repaired—with the souven-ear hunter picking up the tab. (Read more Easter Island stories.)

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