Stolen playground equipment returned safe and sound
By James Grob, firstname.lastname@example.org
It might have been a guilty conscience that did the trick — or maybe it was the threat of being charged with a felony.
Whatever the motivation, the three pieces of “spring animal” playground equipment from Lions Field Park that were taken last week have been returned, and by all accounts, they are safe and sound.
Small children will once again have a complete menagerie of playground equipment to choose from, as the pelican, hippopotamus and buffalo are expected to join their friends — the chicken, turtle and rhinoceros — sometime soon.
“Thank you to whoever took them and returned them,” the Charles City Police Department said in a social media statement Tuesday. “We appreciate you doing the right thing.”
The Charles City Park and Recreation Department reported on Monday morning that the three pieces had gone missing. Parks and Rec Director Tyler Mitchell said that the animals were gone, with the springs they were mounted to still in the ground.
Mitchell said that one of the animals went missing last week, while the other two pieces went missing last weekend.
The Police Department put the information and a photo on social media, and it was reported in the Charles City Press and other local media outlets.
“Please return these so the kids can enjoy them,” the police stated. “If you have information on their whereabouts, please contact the CCPD at 228-3366.”
The Police Department also stated that the theft of the equipment could constitute a felony for the individuals involved.
“A lot of people shared the post by the Police Department, which was really nice,” said Mitchell, who added that the threat of being charged with a felony could have made the culprit think twice about whether the caper was worth it. “A felony is a pretty big charge for a couple pieces of playground equipment.”
The buffalo was spotted in Osage and called in by a concerned citizen, and brought back to Charles City Tuesday afternoon. The pelican and the hippo were dropped off sometime Monday night by the nearby baseball diamonds in Lions Field Park, where an officer making his rounds found them, shortly after midnight.
“We have a pelican and a hippo in the office today,” the CCPD announced Tuesday. “The buffalo should be back home from Osage, also today.”
Mitchell said he hoped to have the equipment re-installed and ready for use sometime this week.