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Beloved L.A. Puppet Master Recovers His Three Puppets, Which Were Stolen Along With His Car

All three of Cain Carias' puppets, El Triste, La Smiley, and his Little Mr. E puppet, were in the trunk of his 2003 Red Honda Civic Coupe, which was parked at the corner of Santa Monica and North Heliotrope Dr. before being stolen.

10:30 AM PDT on May 31, 2023

[UPDATE: As of the morning of May 31, we're happy to report Carias' puppets have been recovered.]

Cain Carias, Los Angeles’ beloved puppet-master, is seeking the public’s help in finding his car and more importantly, his puppets, after they were stolen between 11 P.M. to 9 A.M. Tuesday. 

All three of Carias' puppets, El Triste, La Smiley, and his Little Mr. E puppet, were in the trunk of his 2003 Red Honda Civic Coupe, which was parked at the corner of Santa Monica and North Heliotrope Dr. before being stolen. 

“This is my life and I wanna be able to get my puppets back," wrote Carias on Instagram. "I don't care about the car, I am more concerned about my puppets."

The Tijuana-raised puppet master is well-known in Los Angeles. One of his first jobs out of high school was as a volunteer for The Bob Baker Marionette Theatre, back when it was at its original location in Echo Park.

In a 2021 interview with L.A. TACO, Carias described how, after spending 13 years of learning the craft of puppeteering from Bob Baker himself, he decided to pursue his own puppeteer passions and goals. 

photo: Erwin Recinos

Since then, his puppets have appeared in magazines and music videos, have been in the crowds at local protests in support of street vendors, and many people have even gotten El Triste tattooed on their bodies. 

For Carias, having his car stolen was one thing, but having his prized possessions of the three puppets stolen has shattered him. As he mentioned in a previous interview, his puppets do work, they get booked for photo shoots, events, and more, but what these puppets represent to him is much larger than anything anyone can understand. The theft is a trulyheartbreaking one for him.

“I’m always happy and smiling," Carias told L.A. TACO in 2021. "El Triste takes my sadness away. When I feel down, I think of El Triste, and he brightens my light again.”

Some details Carias wanted to mention for anyone who may be keeping an eye out for his car: the driver-side mirror is broken and his license plate reads: 7XAZ445.

He is asking anyone with clues to DM him on Instagram, and to let him know if they come across his car or his puppets. 

“I can’t even talk I have a knot on my throat, please help me,” Carias wrote on Instagram, still holding out hope that his car and his puppets will be found soon.

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