Leopold (not pictured) was taken on a road trip adventure to Mexico. (Photo: REUTERS/Stefan Warmth)
“Leopold, the travelling gnome,” as he was lovingly dubbed by his kidnappers, was abducted from his Vancouver, B.C., home in January 2016. Magically, Leopold reappeared eight months later with a present for his owner: a hardcover book chronicling the tale of his adventures.
The first entry in the book read “I saw a motor home toddle along… and I thought to myself, ‘there’s got to be more to life than standing knee-deep in rain water, being peed on by the neighbourhood dogs and staring at the same view every single day’ so I hoped on.”
It seems the gnome had the time of his life as the book pictures had him dropping by the Grand Canyon, sipping drinks on a Mexican beach and visiting various motels and diners along the way.
Leo may have had a lot of fun on his travels but he was taken without the permission of his owner, which makes his abduction a theft. An abduction of a garden gnome would not be considered kidnapping since Leopold is not considered a “person”, regardless of whether he’s considered a member of the family.
Certainly, if Leo’s owner wanted to press charges against the gnome thieves, they would be charged with theft under $5,000, and the highest punishment the thieves could face could be up to two years in prison. On a lesser charge, the punishment would be a fine of up to $5,000, up to six months in jail, or both.
However, it seems unlikely that Leo’s owner will press charges as she seems to take the gnome-napping in good fun. She even told CBC News that the next time the thieves want to go on a fun adventure they should take her instead, as she would be willing to pay her own way.
Certainly, this is not the first time a gnome has had more fun than his owners as the “travelling gnome prank” has been around since the 1980’s, with the earliest prank being recorded in 1986 when a gnome was nabbed from his Australian home and taken on a trip around the world.