BOISE Police released four security cameras photos of a butterfly that was stolen from a statue outside of a women s shelter in downtown Boise last month. Officials are hoping that the culprits will be identified and caught.

The valuable and sentimental sculpture is located at the corner of N. 8th and Washington streets in front of the Women s and Children s Alliance, a shelter for domestic violence victims.

According to security tapes, the butterfly theft occurred at 4:26 p.m. on March 24. Three boys and one girl are seen in the video stills. One of the boys walks up to the sculpture, removes the butterfly and places it in the girl s backpack. The group of kids appear to be junior high or high school age.

This sculpture has been a symbol of hope to the people who've sought shelter at the WCA, said Sgt. Randy Buzzini of the Boise Police Property Crimes unit. Our goal is to get the butterfly returned and have that image restored for all those families in crisis who come to the WCA for help.

Police say earlier on March 24, between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m., a young man, accompanied by two other men, broke the butterfly off the sculpture and left it on the ground. Later that morning the butterfly was put back on the statue, but not secured. It was stolen later that afternoon. It is unclear if the person who damaged the butterfly was the one who stole it.

Authorities estimate the butterfly is valued between $1,000 and $2,000.

The Women's and Children's Alliance posted on their Facebook page that they will take the butterfly back, no questions asked.

Anyone with information about the suspects in the photos is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 343-COPS. Tipsters can remain anonymous.

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