Stolen mascot latest case of crazy thefts

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It’s a safe bet that almost every frat house and a good number of student apartments in Canada have a stolen stop sign or road pylon, but sometimes those frivolous thefts get a lot more grandiose or bizarre.

Last week, cops raided an East Vancouver apartment to recover a stolen computer and, in the process, found a trove other stolen items. Among them was Big G, the 10-foot inflatable mascot of the Harlem Globetrotters who’d disappeared from the team bus earlier in the week. Fortunately, the team didn’t have to play a game without Big G because who knows, maybe the Generals might’ve won a game against the demoralized ’Trotters.

Last month, Quebec cops investigated a very Canadian-sounding crime, after two men stole some $28,000 in hockey sticks from a Gatineau sporting goods store. The thieves have thus far escaped the penalty box.

Also in January, an equestrian evildoer in Woodstock, Ont., stole the tail right off a horse. At age 25, poor Hot Shot is too old to re-grow his tail, and his owner says he’s clearly suffered anxiety from the theft. Horse tails are sometimes stolen to make tail extensions, violin bows, decorations, or other crafts.

In October, Quebec cops also busted an apparent cooking-oil cartel, arresting seven people and seizing five vehicles in a slick operation that targeted oil recycling companies.

That same month, police made two more arrests in another culinary caper that made international headlines, although mostly for the easy stereotypical Canada jokes: the 2012 theft of $18 million in maple syrup from a warehouse in Saint-Louis-de-Blandford, Que.

Of course, street signs are a popular target too. In 2012, when Kingston, Ont., city council named a street after The Tragically Hip, one city councillor presciently advised the city to “keep a good stock” of signs since they’d be a popular target for larcenous fans. And while Justin Bieber’s hometown Stratford, Ont. doesn’t have a street named after him, the small Texas town of Forney, Tex., does . . . and unsurprisingly, the sign quickly vanished. Surprisingly, it wasn’t stolen by screaming girls.

Many of those make sense though, in an odd way. You’ll probably have no trouble selling stolen hockey sticks in Quebec, and while being a Bieber fan is a baffling phenomenon on its own, stealing  a sign is understandable.

But figure this out, if you can.

In 2013, Winnipeggers were stumped by a strange string of serial thefts that saw the disappearance of historic building plaques, a riverboat steering wheel, and a ceramic pig autographed by Dan Aykroyd, among other items. Winnipeg’s weirdest scavenger hunt? We’d love to know.

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