Skip to main content
Original Issue

Statue-tory Violations

A look back at a monumentally odd year for monuments

Last week: A 1,000-pound likeness of former Bills running back Thurman Thomas (carved out of a block of pine with a chain saw) was returned to Buffalo after it went missing following the Bills' 6--3 loss to the Browns on Oct. 11. A man identified only as Dave claimed he rescued it from angry fans who were about to set it on fire in the parking lot of Ralph Wilson Stadium. He took the statue home with him—to Ontario—then arranged to have it returned. Last Friday, Thomas was reunited with the statue, which he gave a hug and a kiss (above).

September: Four young men stole a four-foot number 8 that honors Cal Ripken Jr. from its home outside Camden Yards. It was far from the perfect crime. Instead of hiding it, they threw it in the back of a pickup truck—then got into an argument with another driver. The cops were called and promptly arrested the four, three of whom were from the suburbs, causing the city's police commissioner to warn, "Don't come to Baltimore to be a moron."

January: Thieves absconded with the bronze Coke-bottle-thick glasses from the seven-foot statue of Joe Paterno (right) outside Penn State's Beaver Stadium. Rather than force the 82-year-old coach to undergo Lasik surgery, the school preserved the statue's verisimilitude by buying it a new set of bronze specs.