Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Mechanical Gorilla Rescue

Yes, I know. You read the title, you say, "WHAT?!!" But really, folks! The story first appeared in the Bangor Daily News on September 3rd, while I was off on a week's vacation. The things I miss! I swear. Thanks to Cranky Yankee over at the New England Anomaly for pointing this out.

Don't worry, it has a happy ending!
East Machias store owner wants kidnapped gorilla returned
By Diana Graettinger
Bangor Daily News Staff

EAST MACHIAS — A giant gorilla was kidnapped in broad daylight Sunday from in front of Sandy’s Sales on Route 1.

No ransom demand had come from the kidnappers as of Tuesday, but the Maine State Police are investigating and have put out an all-points bulletin on the primate — an 8-foot mechanical ape.

The gorilla has been a favorite local attraction at the year-round flea market store, and owner Lowell Miller, 79, wants it back, no questions asked.

It was last seen standing with its hand on the sign in front of Sandy’s Sales. Miller did not know it was missing until he started to close up on Sunday. He thought his clerk had wheeled it inside, and the clerk thought Miller had.

“None of us saw him take it,” Miller said Tuesday.

Miller was surprised the gorilla was missing because of its weight.

“That had a platform in the bottom made out of cement. I had to wheel it out with the wheels on it. Then inside it had motors in it, and you plugged it in and the arms went up and down and it turned sideways,” he said.

“Who the hell would ever steal a gorilla as heavy as that thing was?” Miller said Tuesday.

Miller believes the gorilla may be hiding in a teenager’s bedroom, and police suspect it may be holed up in some college students’ apartment.

“I don’t know if it is exactly at the college,” Sgt. Jeff Ingemi of the Maine State Police said Tuesday. “I think that it is more likely at a college apartment.”

Miller said he has owned the gorilla for about 10 years. He said it was valued at around $1,500.

Miller’s gorilla is a rubbernecker’s delight as motorists pass by the store.

“It is noticeable,” Miller said. “How many people have a gorilla outside?”

This is not the first time the gorilla has run into trouble, but it’s the first time it has turned up missing.

One time, Miller said, a customer ran into it in the store’s parking lot.

“He went downtown drinking and telling everybody, ‘Hey, I just ran over Sandy’s monkey,’” Miller said.

It cost Miller $75 to have the gorilla repaired that time.

Miller said he wasn’t interested in having anyone arrested, he just wants his mechanical primate to come home.

When I went to check up on the story on my return, lo and behold -- a miracle!
Stolen gorilla found in Vermont cornfield
By Diana Graettinger
Bangor Daily News Staff

EAST MACHIAS, Maine — A power-driven gorilla that has been missing since the Labor Day weekend turned up over the weekend in a cornfield in Swanton, Vermont.
The gorilla that belonged to Sandy’s Sales was taken from in front of the Route 1 store the Sunday before Labor Day. For a time, police believed it might be in a student’s apartment in the Machias area.

It was only after the owner of the Ohio-based company that had built the mechanical monkey got involved that things began to happen. Ken Booth made a video and put it on YouTube quoting a story that ran in the Bangor Daily News about the missing monkey. He offered a $500 reward.

[See original video here on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMljYsfjUg0]

Shortly after the cyberspace detective work started, there was a response from the kidnapper. That video was also posted on YouTube.

[See kidnapper's response here on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cp5uKaXjDE8&watch_response]

Dressed in black from head to toe, the masked man working with a sock puppet said he wanted $1 million — then said he was just kidding. Finally, he said he just wanted to unload the beast.

Within hours, the mechanical giant was picked up by the Vermont State Police and taken to the Troop A barracks in St. Albans, Vermont.
Poor gorilla! I hope he gets home quickly. He's had a looooong, strange trip.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You can also see WLBZ-2's story on this at the following link.