The owners of Sakura Restaurant and Steak House of Japan said they don't know how the thieves made off with the weighty sculpture devoted to the founder of Buddhism.
"It's definitely like a three-man work," owner Ado Tarallo said. "It's very heavy. It's not that easy to move."
The familiar bald statue had sat in the restaurant's rock garden on top of a large water fountain for 16 years. The one-metre statue cost £800, Tarallo said.
One of the central moral precepts of Buddhism is "do not take what is not yours to take." Buddhists also believe in karma, which says a person's actions in this life determine the quality of their existence in the next.