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banner Wednesday, 6 February, 2002, 11:38 GMT
Whoopi's Oscar found after theft
Academy boss Robert Rehme inspects his Oscars
55 Oscar statues went missing in 2000
Oscar host Whoopi Goldberg's own Academy Award turned up in a rubbish bin after thieves stole it, it has been revealed.

The actress, who won a best supporting Oscar for Ghost in 1991, sent the trophy to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences so it could be sent away for cleaning and replating.

The package was shipped from Los Angeles to Chicago by United Parcel Service (UPS) but when it arrived at the statue's manfacturers the box was empty.


Oscar will never leave my house again

Whoopi Goldberg

Goldberg's spokesman Brad Cafarelli said someone had opened the packaging, removed the award and resealed the box.

He said security staff at Ontario, California, airport found the trophy discarded in a bin.

In 2000, 55 statues were stolen as they were being delivered from the manufacturers and later all but three were found in a skip.

Fence

Three men were arrested and convicted of theft, resulting in jail sentences or probation.

All Oscar trophies are numbered and Goldberg's was engraved with her name, making it extremely difficult to sell on without detection.

"I don't know how in the world they would ever fence the darn thing," said Academy spokesman John Pavlik.

Whoopi Goldberg
Whoopi Goldberg will return as Oscar host for the 2002 ceremony
UPS confirmed the Oscar had been recovered but declined to comment further because the case was under investigation.

Goldberg won her Oscar for her part as the wacky spiritualist Oda Mae Brown in the hit movie Ghost, co-starring alongside Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze.

The star has now had the gold award returned, uncleaned.

"Oscar will never leave my house again," she said.

The 46-year-old is returning to host the 2002 Oscars ceremony after taking a two-year break from the job.

Nominations for the Academy Awards will be announced on 12 February.

See also:

17 Mar 00 | Entertainment
Oscar statuettes go missing
20 Mar 00 | Entertainment
Oscars found in rubbish bin
07 Jul 00 | Entertainment
Man jailed over Oscars theft
08 Jan 02 | Oscars 2002
Whoopi returns as Oscar host
06 Jan 02 | Film
Tolkien film wins top award
26 Mar 01 | Film
Martin tries at dull Oscars
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