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Published July 11 2012

Moorhead apartment caretaker hopes for return of 140-pound lion statue

MOORHEAD – The recent theft of one of two 140-pound lion statues from outside an apartment building here is a thorn in the paw of the property’s caretaker, and he’s hoping the concrete cat will find its way back to the pride.

Gordon Schroeder has tended to the apartment grounds at 301 6th St. S. for the past four years. Though the 67-year-old retired truck driver doesn’t own the building, he purchased the two lion statues and placed one on each side of the main entrance.

“I did it on my own because to me, it’s my home,” said Schroeder, who also planted flowers and installed a fountain outside the building.

The lions had stood guard outside the building for four weeks when one went missing June 24 while Schroeder was away for the weekend in Bismarck.

The statues are worth about $150 apiece and are “kind of an unusual, heavy thing to steal,” he said.

“It’s a shame that people can’t have nice things without somebody doing stuff like that,” he said.

Schroeder has maintained a sense of humor about

who may have filched the faux feline.

“I don’t think it was the Detroit Lions, but …” he said.

He also called the cat’s previous owner, his girlfriend’s sister, “and she said he didn’t come back.”

Schroeder said he reported the stolen statue to police. Lt. Tory Jacobson said people occasionally report stolen lawn ornaments (garden gnomes are a frequent target), and the more unique it is, the more likely it is someone will report the theft to police.

“That kind of thing stands out and is a conversation piece,” he said.

Publicity can help, too.

After a 4-foot-tall wooden cardinal statue went missing from the yard of Ron and Betty Cantler in south Fargo, a friend of theirs submitted a letter to the editor, published in The Forum on July 2, asking for the bird’s return, “no questions asked.”

A man whose daughter had found the 45-pound statue abandoned on a sidewalk about a mile to the west contacted the Cantlers and returned the bird unharmed.

How or why it went missing remains a mystery.

“I don’t know just what the idea was,” Ron Cantler said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Mike Nowatzki at (701) 241-5528

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