Almost two months to the day after police received a report that an elephant statue on Madison Street had been stolen, investigators are again looking into the theft of a miniature pachyderm. Proprietors of the Brown Cow ice cream shop, 7314 Madison St., discovered last Wednesday their statue had been stolen sometime between midnight and 10:30 a.m.
“Nothing was damaged or broken, but this was thought out, because they took a screwdriver and unscrewed the elephant from the concrete slab,” Connie Brown, a co-owner of the ice cream parlor said.
A report was filed with the police department and investigators have their suspicions that both thefts were likely committed as a prank of some sort. The difficulty in tracking down the decorative statues, though, is they would be of little value to others and are unlikely to turn up in pawn shops or other venues where stolen goods are often recovered.
Police Chief Jim Ryan said his officers have had no luck finding the statue that was taken June 14 from outside Two Fish Art Glass in the 7400 block of Madison Street.
“Obviously, the problem we have is these things aren’t turning up,” Ryan said. “It’s probably in some frat house in River Forest.”
The roughly two-and-a-half foot tall statues were sold to village businesses and civic groups through village hall as part of a fundraiser for the upcoming centennial celebration being held Labor Day weekend. Many of the purchasers went to great lengths decorating and painting their statues, as did Brown and her husband. Scoops, the moniker given to the statue in front of the Brown Cow ice cream parlor, was painted by a local school teacher to look like a dairy cow wearing an elephant mask.
“It pisses me off,” Brown said of the theft. “[The statues were designed] to drive community involvement. It was kind of an expression of the businesses and the community.”
In the case of the June theft, the culprits swiped the statue and the hefty slab of cement it was bolted to. At the time, the cement slabs were not secured to the sidewalk, but Village Administrator Mike Sturino promised to have the Public Works Department fasten the entire display. That step was taken, according to Centennial Committee Chairwoman Sally Cody. But, obviously, there are ways around those precautions.
“I’m going to admit this is our maiden voyage here, so apparently there’s a lot to learn,” Cody said.
In the meantime, the village has already taken the step of ordering another statue that will be provided to the ice cream parlor free of charge, Cody said. The same was done for the victim of the June theft, and a newly decorated replacement sits in front of the artisan studio, chains and all.